For Everton and Frank Lampard, this has been a much-needed break ahead of the resumption of the Premier League season this weekend.
Lampard emphasized the significance of the international break for the entire team and what he has been telling the players ahead of their trip to West Ham on Sunday.
“It’s been a welcome break. I think at a time with a run-in [to the end of the season] coming, it’s good for them to play for their countries, it’s always an honour for them. For others the players that needed some work have had some work, those that needed a little bit of rest have got some rest so we’ve used it as positively as we can.
“I challenge them all the time to show what they’re made of because that’s the Premier League and that’s what the demands are. There’s nothing in my comments [after the Palace loss] too far from the norm for this level of competition. The basics have to be there – having character and fight. To play for Everton as a young man means you have character, it means you’ve come a long way. The character is there, it’s just applying it in the right way is always crucial.”
Dele Alli, signed in January, has had limited playing time and has been unimpressive when given the opportunity, but Lampard didn’t want to single him out for criticism.
“I think it’s been good for him to work and to train, as it has a few others, to get extra fitness and sharpness. He’s the same as any player, forward areas, midfield, attack especially, we need everybody to be giving everything they can, he’s absolutely in that bracket.”
Lampard provided an update on his squad’s injuries, starting with Andros Townsend, who sustained a knee injury early in the defeat at Crystal Palace.
“Andros Townsend we know is a long-term injury, we feel a lot for him. We’re supporting him, he’ll be back strong because that’s the lad that he is.
“Yerry Mina will hopefully be back with us in the next couple of weeks. He’s a big player for us, an international player, of stature and personality in the dressing room. I haven’t had much on-pitch time to work with him unfortunately. You miss a player of that level, especially in an area where you want stability, it’s difficult because you want that level, that competition. Centre-back is a crucial area, and he’s been a big miss.
“Fabian Delph we’re hoping is another week or so. It’s a slightly complicated injury but again it will be a big plus to have him back in the squad because it’s in area in which we’ve had some issues. That’s where we’re at.”
After a promising start, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s season has been hampered by injuries.
“The break has been positive for Dominic. I’ve only had him for three games. He was playing short of fitness, a striker wants to be, needs to be 100%. We’ve worked well with him over the last couple of weeks.
“Without putting un-due pressure on him – because it’s tough for a striker with expectations – but he’s in a good place.”