Former BBC pundit Noel Whelan has warned Everton against starting Dominic Calvert-Lewin in their game against West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, writes the FTT.
Speaking to the media in his pre-game press conference ahead of the match, Frank Lampard revealed that Calvert-Lewin is ‘close‘ to returning from injury, and is even contemplating whether to start him against the Hammers in the Premier League.
The striker was spotted back in training ahead of the fixture, but has not played at Goodison Park since May.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan has claimed that it would be ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and ‘unbelievable’ if the Merseyside club were to throw Calvert-Lewin straight back into the starting line-up after such a lengthy lay-off:
“I think when you’ve got such a lengthy layoff, you need to have that cotton wool around him.
“The last thing Everton and Frank Lampard want is another setback. The intensity of a Premier League game is so much different to training.
“I think because they’ve gone out and got Maupay, that gives them the opportunity to be cautious with him and perhaps use him from the bench.
“It’d be absolutely ridiculous, unbelievable, to throw him back into the line-up in a relentless Premier League fixture.
“He needs bedding in, he needs time. You need to take care of players like Calvert-Lewin.”
It would be risky to throw Calvert-Lewin straight into the starting eleven after another injury setback, given the troubles that he had last season.
However, he remains a key player for them, with double figures for goals in the Premier League in each of the last two seasons before his last injury-hit campaign (Transfermarkt).
Thus, a good compromise from Lampard may be to leave him on the bench against West Ham on Sunday, and bring him on only if really necessary, before aiming to get him back to full fitness during the international break.