Frank Lampard praised Allan as a “great professional” who is “training well every day” despite seeing his opportunities limited by injury and new signings, writes the Liverpool Echo.
The midfielder has been named in the matchday squad for five of Everton’s six Premier League games so far this season, only missing out on the trip to Aston Villa after suffering an injury. But he is yet to play a minute for the Blues during this campaign – despite the loss of Abdoulaye Doucoure to a hamstring problem and Lampard’s reliance on Alex Iwobi’s versatility to help cover initial gaps in the centre of the pitch.
While he has survived the exodus of midfielders that has seen Fabian Delph and Gylfi Sigurdsson leave the club following the expiration of their contracts and the loan departures of Dele Alli, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes, he appears to have found himself behind Iwobi, the resurgent Tom Davies and new signings Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye. James Garner has also been added to the central midfield and his return to fitness could see him involved for the first time for Everton when the club host West Ham United on Sunday.
Allan last started a game for Everton at the end of April, when the club slipped into the relegation zone on a day that saw Burnley secure a vital win and the Blues lose at Anfield in the Merseyside derby. The 31-year-old played 73 minutes in the match, after which he fell under scrutiny for having completed just one pass amid a battling display by Everton. He did, however, make five interceptions, six clearances, two recoveries and one successful tackle while not receiving a single pass.
In the dozen league games since then the former Napoli player has been on the bench 10 times, coming on against Chelsea and Brentford last season – when, Lampard said, he fought through the pain barrier to make himself available despite carrying an injury. As Lampard embarked on the first stages of his squad overhaul this summer, Allan’s future was the subject of speculation until he suggested he would stay on Merseyside in comments made when Lazio were said to be interested in taking the former Brazil international back to Serie A. He said: “I think my destiny as a professional [football player] will remain unchanged. I’ll stay at Everton. As far as I know, I’m fine in England.”
Since then, Lampard has signed three centre midfielders and moved Iwobi into that role while Allan is reportedly the subject of interest from the United Arab Emirates, where the transfer window remains open until October 4. Asked whether Allan remained in his plans ahead of the match with West Ham, Lampard acknowledged it was an area he was keen to strengthen over the summer but said Allan was still part of his squad – and performing well in training despite not yet having been given an opportunity this season.
He said: “It’s [midfield] a busy area for us now and I make no bones about that. It is an area I looked at and wanted to strengthen and improve, it is an area where you can have more control of games and its so important in the Premier League so the competitive thing is good for me in there. And Allan, he is a great professional, has been since the day I came in, got injured at the back end of last season but wanted to continue playing through pain to help us stay in the league so at the moment he is part of the squad and he trains well every day – as do the other midfield players – and we’ve probably got six or seven players for three positions. It is good to have that competition but the reality is it is what it is and that is why you need good professionals and he is one.”