Frank Lampard fires back at Dele Alli retirement claim amid struggles since Tottenham exit

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Dele Alli is yet to make a start for Everton since signing from Tottenham Hotspur.

Frank Lampard has insisted the international break has been good for Dele Alli's fitness as he bids to make his Everton mark.

The midfielder joined the Toffees from Tottenham Hotspur on January transfer deadline day.

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Alli has made six appearances at Goodison Park so far - but is still to make a start.

During the international break, former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore told Alli, 26, to consider retirement for the sake of his mental health if his heart's no longer in football.

Meanwhile, ex-Spurs forward Darren Bent believes Alli may need to drop down to the Championship and ‘rip it up’ to get back to the sort of form that helped England reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

However, Lampard believes the hiatus in the season has proved beneficial for Alli.

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And the Everton boss insisted that Alli is ‘giving everything’ amid the relegation scrap.

Lampard said: “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 in the forward areas - particularly midfield area, attacking.

“We need everyone to be giving everything they can and he's absolutely in that bracket.”

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‘Little bit much’

In reply to Collymore’s comments, Lampard said: “I saw those comments and it is important to broach them because I know Stan a little bit and he had difficulties which he has been open about in his career.

“I understand where he is coming from on his own front, but to speak about someone you do not know, and put them in the same bracket - or question if they should be in that bracket - was a little bit much.

“From my point of view I have the familiarity of working with Dele every day and I do not see a player who wants to retire at that age. That was a strong comment.”

Lampard added: “What I do see, and I do see people can comment in that way, is he has a lot to prove.

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“The basics are that when you have a lot to prove, you have to get your head down, you have to listen to that stuff because that’s the job we are in and you have to prove people wrong on the pitch - and that starts on the training pitch. I see it like that.”

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