Frank Lampard has heaped praise on Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny after his goal celebration during last week’s win against Leeds.
Kenny’s joyous reaction to Seamus Coleman’s early opener was caught by the television cameras and Lampard felt the 24-year-old Scouser epitomised his side’s fighting spirit.
Lampard said: “He did and that’s absolute gold because the fans will relate hugely to that. We all saw the images of that.
“I don’t want to make him just a local lad with a big heart, he’s a very good player. I saw that from the moment we’ve been here, I knew that from before.
“Some of my staff have worked with him previously, so the references I had before coming here were that he’s a great lad and a very good player.”
Lampard handed right-back Kenny just his fourth Premier League start of the season and deployed him on the left against Leeds.
“When you’ve got lads like that in the group they help,” Lampard said.
Jonjoe Kenny’s reaction to Coleman’s goal.
This lad has been shipped out on loan, shafted out by multiple managers and still never seems to complain and cares more than most we’ve had over the years. Proper Evertonian. pic.twitter.com/36TiNMEc0C
— Matt (@TacticallyEv) February 14, 2022
“They help the positive feeling, they help with the determination and the moments to dig in. The Leeds game was a moment to dig in and he did that.
“He can be very happy with that and hopefully it’s a springboard for him in the short term.
“Because we’re fresh and new as a staff everyone has that chance to impress and what better way to do it than the way Jonjoe did it last week.”
Everton are bidding for back-to-back league wins for the first time since September and Lampard said last week’s chosen starting XI had given him plenty to think about.
He said: “There’s an argument for going same again. I felt similar going into Newcastle and it didn’t quite work, so it’s not a statement of fact.
“The players have to feel through the week that they can find a way into the team, if we have to change our approach to the opposition because Leeds to Southampton – two very good teams in lots of different ways.
“The good thing is we’ve got players who are playing well and who are hungry to get into the team.”
Southampton have climbed up to 10th after taking four points off Tottenham and Manchester United in their previous two matches and are unbeaten in their last eight home league games.
Lampard believes they are reaping the rewards for sticking with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has presided over two 9-0 defeats since taking charge in late 2018.
“At those points, that’s when you rely on the belief from the people above and around you and the structure in place,” Lampard added.
“They clearly have that and I think they’re a good symbol. It’s testament to the club and testament to the manager.
“He keeps working in the same direction and then you see his ideas come out on the pitch and the players buying into them and they’re a very, very strong unit.”