Donny van de Beek is "a top-level player", according to Frank Lampard, who says the Manchester United misfit has shown there is always a way through tough times if you keep working hard.
Van de Beek moved to Everton on loan until the end of the season on the final day of the winter transfer window.
The 24-year-old was starved of regular minutes at Old Trafford, but has already been handed his first Premier League start of the campaign under Lampard, who has backed him to make a big impact at Goodison Park.
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What's been said?
The Everton manager talked up Van de Beek's quality and resilience ahead of his team's trip to Southampton on Saturday.
“I’ve been really impressed with him”, Lampard told reporters. “On a professional level, since speaking to him, him coming and seeing him train, I am absolutely impressed with his fitness and his game sharpness. When you’re watching training it doesn’t surprise you.
“When I think back to the time he has had at Manchester United, he’s a top-level player. He was when Manchester United signed him and he was at Ajax.
“It’s not easy. There are different ways of reacting and I’m sure it was tough. He has shown that if you keep your head down and keep working you can come through it.
“People will always respect you for it. Now hopefully he has a chance to show his quality on a regular basis and I hope so too.”
Van de Beek out to prove his worth at Everton
United initially forked out £35 million ($48m) to sign Van de Beek from Ajax in the summer of 2020, tying him down to a five-year contract.
The Netherlands international has since only managed to score two goals in 50 games in all competitions for the club, with the majority of those appearances coming as a substitute.
It has been suggested that Van de Beek lacks the necessary aggression to be successful in the Premier League, but he has already set about silencing his doubters at Everton.
The United loanee played the full 90 minutes of a 3-0 win over Leeds last time out and made a stellar contribution in both defence and attack, with Lampard likely to offer him another starting berth against the Saints this weekend.