Everton could consider unleashing wildcard who Frank Lampard said has an ‘eye for goal’
Everton are struggling for goals in their Premier League relegation battle and Stanley Mills could be an option.
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It's a question that Sean Dyche will have known he was expected to be asked frequently after taking the Everton manager's job.
And as every barren performance in front of goal occurs in the injury absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, most recently in the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, the Toffees boss will know what's coming his way.
It's concurred that Everton's battle to survive in the Premier League will will profusely come down to their ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
No team in the division has scored fewer than the Blues (17). Despite having several chances against Villa, their finishing ability was found wanting.
Dyche knows that he needs to find solutions on the training ground if Everton are to survive. He's placed the onus on his entire squad rather than just the forwards. The answers lay at who the former Burnley chief presently has available to him.
Bringing in a free agent has already been ruled out by Dyche. While some fans would likely not be averse to signing former Real Madrid playmaker Isco, the Everton supremo has pointed out that usually, those without a club at this stage of the season are for good reason.
Another option for Dyche is to turn to the under-21s. The step up from age-group football to the Premier League is vast but it’s been done before. If there was someone to step up and provide a spark then it could be Stanley Mills.
The 19-year-old regularly trains with the first team at Finch Farm, with Dyche acknowledging the youngster’s attributes at a recent press conference.
Certainly, Mills - a versatile player who can play down the flank, in central midfield and right-back - knows how to put the ball away. Mills has bagged nine goals in 16 appearances for Paul Tait’s side. His latest effort in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur was in front of the Toffees boss at Southport’s Haig Avenue.
Mills, the son of former England international Danny, has made two appearances for Everton this season - both in the Carabao Cup.
Former manager Frank Lampard was an admirer of the teenager and laid out his best qualities. One of those was Mills’ prowess in the final third.
Lampard said in November: “Stan 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.”
The caveat to playing Mills is that he may not be ready for a Premier League dogfight and the pressures that come with it. Tried-and-tested performers is a safer bet.
But Dyche certainly has a left-field option should be require it.