Frank Lampard has revealed he could name a handful of Everton’s young talents in his matchday squad for Tuesday evening’s Carabao Cup third round tie at Bournemouth.
The Blues will make the first of two trips to Vitality Stadium in less than a week as they take on the fellow Premier League outfit in the cup (7.45pm GMT), before heading back to the south coast on Saturday as the two teams clash again in the final Premier League fixture before the start of the World Cup.
Lampard is likely to shuffle his squad for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup encounter as he waits on injury scans for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (hamstring), Amadou Onana (ankle) and Idrissa Gana Gueye (quadriceps).
That could mean competitive action for a host of Paul Tait’s Under-21s, with Lampard admitting up to four Academy talents could be named on the bench, including in-form midfielder Stanley Mills, centre-back Reece Welch and Tom Cannon, in what would be the striker’s maiden senior call-up.
Speaking ahead of the tie, the Everton boss said: “My intention is to get some young lads on the bench for the game, to have a feel of being part of it and to see if we can get them on the pitch.
“I'd like to think we’d have two, three, four on the bench, but I can’t guarantee that until we have a squad count up.
“Stanley has been doing really well, scoring regularly, playing well, and developing really well, so it’s nice to give players like that the opportunity when they come around.
“(Tom) Cannon is another one doing well. Reece Welch is there, too, so we will see how it works.”
Mills enjoyed a strong 2021/22 campaign with Everton Under-21s, playing in all but one of their 26 Premier League 2 matches, scoring three goals and providing four assists.
The 19-year-old looks to have found a new level this season, netting seven goals and registering one assist across his nine appearances for Tait’s side.
Mills has already had a taste of Everton First-Team action when he was included in a strong squad for the pre-season tour of the USA in July, featuring in matches against Arsenal and Minnesota United, before playing in friendlies back in England against Blackpool and Dynamo Kyiv.
The teenager was also named on the bench for Everton's 2022/23 Premier League opening-day clash with Chelsea at Goodison, which came just days after he signed a new three-year contract until the end of June 2025.
Lampard was quick to praise Mills’ attitude as he bids to transition into senior-level football, while urging the need for patience as the youngster – the son of Lampard’s former England teammate Danny Mills - continues his development at Everton.
“The biggest thing will always be the individual, how good they are and what level of player, what level of attitude they have,” added the Blues boss. “Stan’s has a great approach and attitude. That probably comes from his footballing background and his dad, who I know well. He was a great athlete as well as a good player.
“Stan’s a very strong runner and has an eye for goal - he’s a good player. So, yes, he can be an option. But he’s still very young. We all know how hard it is at a young age to break through and have an immediate impact regularly, so it will be phased in for him but, for sure, he is progressing in the right way.”