Frank Lampard’s side will be without Anthony Gordon at the weekend as the England U21 starlet serves a suspension for racking up five yellow cards.
The flashy winger has made himself a regular in the Toffees’ first XI over the course of the last year. Although Lampard remained calm over the situation in his press conference, stating “It is what it is” the number 10 will be a big miss.
With focus now switching to who will replace Gordon, the obvious candidate is Dwight McNeil. The 22-year-old has been in and out of the starting line-up since his move from Burnley, starting the first two games of the campaign before being benched in three of the last four. So far Lampard has seemed to prefer the counter attacking potential of Gordon and the pacey Demarai Gray which has led to a stop-start early Everton career for McNeil.
Lampard could easily choose to fall back on the former Manchester United academy member, but as a left winger he would be somewhat out of his ideal position if he comes in to fill in on the right, and his more traditional wing play style of hugging the line and aiming crosses into the box is a slight contrast to the more aggressive wide forward role Gordon has starred in.
If the Blues want a more like for like replacement, one who’s Premier League debut will be a big statement not just for the individual in question but for Lampard’s trust in the club’s youngsters and their youth facilities, they should call on Stanley Mills.
Son of former Leeds United player Danny Mills, Stanley has climbed the Everton youth ranks and became a standout player for the Under 21’s. Like Gordon, Mills is a left footed right winger with an eye for goal, including a recent strike against League two side Harrogate Town in the Football League trophy.
Mills’ talent was rewarded with a new deal in the summer, and after being handed his Everton debut in a cameo against Fleetwood Town he is clearly one the clubs hierarchy think highly of. Throwing him straight in against Spurs would be a baptism of fire for the youngster but would also by a massive show of faith from Lampard.
✍️ | A first pro deal for Stanley Mills! 🔵
Congratulations, Stanley. 👏
— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) July 6, 2021
Aside from the statement it would make, Mills could also be a valuable asset for an Everton side struggling for goals. So far, the Goodison Park based outfit have only recorded nine league goals, the 14th lowest in the league. Mills however has registered three goals in four U21 games, including a goal last week in a 4-3 win over Crystal Palace. Cutting inside from the right onto his left, Mills could provide the goal threat Everton have at times lacked.
Even if McNeil gets the nod to start at Spurs, Mills should absolutely be on the agenda to come off the bench and feature heavily if the away side need something different and want some fresh young legs to try and replace the sizeable void left by Gordon.