Frank Lampard's focus is on getting Dominic Calvert-Lewin fit and firing for Everton as he looks to make a late push for England's World Cup squad.
Calvert-Lewin enjoyed a brilliant 2020-21 campaign, scoring 21 times. That tally included a hot streak of eight goals in seven games to start the season, with his form seeing him make his England debut, scoring four goals in as many starts for the Three Lions, the most by a player since Kerry Dixon in 1985-86.
He was part of England's Euro 2020 squad but the 25-year-old missed much of last term through injury, returning to score the vital goal to keep Everton up in a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace in May, only to suffer a knee injury on the eve of the new season.
With Calvert-Lewin limited to two substitute appearances in Everton's last two matches – defeats to Manchester United and Tottenham respectively – his hopes of making Gareth Southgate's squad for Qatar appear slim, especially with Brentford's Ivan Toney in rich form.
Lampard acknowledges time may be against his striker but is not giving up hope.
"We've got to be careful with Dominic coming back, making sure we gradually bring him in but as quickly as possible," he told reporters ahead of Everton's trip to Newcastle United.
"We're definitely getting to the stage now where we can hopefully get more minutes out of him.
"It's human nature and a natural mentality of top-level players, they want to play for their countries. The first thing is you play well for your club to get there.
4 - Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored four goals in his first four England starts, the most by an England player since Kerry Dixon netted four in his first four in 1985-86; the last player with more goals in their first four starts was Roger Hunt (6, 1962-64). Poacher. pic.twitter.com/e6CyE0RViv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 25, 2021
"Because of Dominic's injuries it's put him in this position. My feeling is if he'd been fit and playing regularly he'd be making that case.
"It's step by step for us, Dominic is an England player, he's been in that squad – can we get him fit for us first, see what he can deliver for us, then of course he gets himself into that question."
One Everton player certain to be going to the World Cup if fit is Jordan Pickford.
The goalkeeper enjoyed a strong start to the season, but made a blunder in Saturday's defeat to Spurs, spilling Matt Doherty's shot and bringing down England team-mate Harry Kane to compound his error.
When asked if he had spoken to Pickford about the mistake, Lampard replied: "No need. He's saved us many times.
"He's a high, high level of goalkeeper, top bracket in the world for me."