Everton manager Frank Lampard is confident the club can match goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s ambitions as contract talks continue with the England number one.
The 28-year-old has 18 months left on his current contract, but as the national team’s undisputed first choice there remains the possibility that Pickford will want to seek Champions League football – particularly after the relegation battle tight from last season.
Lampard is optimistic that is not the case and believes the goalkeeper is happy at Goodison Park.
“I feel we can (match his ambitions). I don’t think it’s simple to look at an individual based on their ambitions,” the Toffees boss said.
“Jordan is England’s number one and got that position relatively, which was an incredible achievement for him because we know how difficult it is.
“He played for Everton and that’s one of the main reasons we had a great run towards the end of last season and stayed in the league.
“Jordan feels very happy to be at this club, I don’t want to speak for him, but that’s the impression I have of him.
“So I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I like to think he’s very happy here. We’re a huge club with a huge history and big ambition and that’s a big part of that.
“Having been a player myself, maybe I was lucky enough to play a lot in the Champions League.
“When I felt comfortable at a club, I walked in with a smile every day and looked forward to every game that came up, be it the Premier League, the Carabao Cup or the Champions League, never mind.
“If Jordan feels like that, we can match each other’s ambitions and to make him stay longer, I don’t see that as a problem.”
The Boxing Day visit of Bottom Wolves represents a hugely significant Premier League restart for Everton.
Lampard’s side have lost five of the last seven games, taking just four points from a possible 21, and sit just one point clear of the last three.
They have only won three times as last season’s abysmal form has carried over into another campaign, so the World Cup break has done them a favor by stopping the bleeding for at least a while.
“There have been some challenges in terms of the schedule and the staggered workload for different players, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” added Lampard after going five weeks without a game.
“Freshness sometimes, and taking a break is a good thing. We always talk about how busy our schedule is and then something happens that breaks the schedule and you can use it in a positive way.
“I think we’ve done it, there have been challenges, but I’m hoping to see a burnout team that has a freshness about them, energy and fitness as a base point.
“I don’t think we necessarily need a fresh start. A nice break adds freshness to us, but we know what all the goals are, we know the games ahead of us and like before the break, we want to win them.