Frank Lampard facing first Everton dilemma of the season as surprise candidate may be considered vs West Ham

Everton play West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday but Frank Lampard is likely to pick a new captain with Jordan Pickford injured.

Despite still aiming for their first Premier League victory of the 2022-23 season, there’s optimism around Goodison Park.

Fans are buoyant about what the rest of the campaign holds for Everton.

With last weekend’s clash against Arsenal being postponed following the passing of the Queen, Frank Lampard was afforded additional time with his squad at Finch Farm to continue to put his mark on things.

Now Everton prepare to welcome West Ham United to Goodison on Sunday (14.14 BST).

However, Lampard will have to cope without Jordan Pickford against the Hammers.

The England No.1 goalkeeper has suffered a thigh injury and has been ruled out of action until after the international break.

Not only will Everton miss a key player, but they’ll be without their skipper for the season so far.

Club captain Seamus Coleman has not made an appearance this term. He underwent surgery in the summer and missed the opening two games.

But despite the Toffees’ longest-serving player being back to full fitness, he’s been unable to dislodge Nathan Patterson at right-back.

Therefore, Lampard will have to select a new skipper to face David Moyes’ side.

And having been bereft of leaders last season, the Everton boss is now awash with them. Adding such qualities was fundamental during the transfer window.

With that in mind, we take a look at the players that Lampard could pick.

James Tarkowski

When Everton’s interest in the centre-back first emerged, it was met by widespread approval.

Granted, Tarkowski had just been part of a Burnley side who were relegated from the Premier League.

But during his four seasons in the top flight, the ex-Brentford defender had proven his quality and earned two England caps.

Tarkowski was vice-captain at Turf Moor and, alongside skipper Ben Mee, was a big voice in the dressing room.

Those attributes have been clear since he arrived at Goodison Park.

Indeed, as soon as Tarkowski signed for Everton, Lampard was praising his leadership qualities.

He’s very much a frontrunner to be given the duty.

Conor Coady

Everton defender Conor Coady. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was Coady’s bellowing and bawling for Wolves that first caught Lampard’s attention when he was Chelsea manager.

In a game that took place behind closed doors amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the centre-back left an undeniable mark on Lampard.

Everton signed Coady on a season-long loan from Wolves for more than just his vocality on the pitch. He’s a fine top-flight defender.

But it was a facet of Coady’s game which would have persuaded Lampard.

In his opening five outings for the Toffees, that has been apparent. He’s marshalled the defense impeccably.

The one caveat to Coady being handed the armband is that he’s a loan player.

The fact that the England international is only at Goodison on a temporary basis has not impacted his commitment levels. Far from it.

And Coady may well be preparing to make his switch permanent next summer.

But it could come into Lampard’s decision-making.

Idrissa Gana Gueye

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

The midfielder might only be back at Everton a little more than two weeks.

Yet given he previously spent three years at Goodison, establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s elite defensive midfielders and earning a move to PSG, handing Gueye this armband isn’t unfathomable.

His cameo off the bench in the Merseyside derby was top class. Given he had a lack of minutes beforehand, Gueye’s outing was excellent.

The Senegal international has, after all, been rubbing shoulders with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Co. over the past few seasons. At the age of 32, with two Ligue 1 titles, an AFCON crown and a Champions League runners-up medal adorning his trophy cabinet, no player in the dressing room could argue with the decision if Gueye was handed the role.

Having had additional time to improve his fitness levels after last weekend’s postponement, there’s every chance Gueye will start against West Ham.

Alex Iwobi

Everton’s Alex Iwobi. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When it comes to the archetypal captain, you think of someone who’s vociferous and not afraid to read the riot act to his teammates if necessary.

But there are some skippers who don’t meet that bracket. Now and again, leaders can set the example not by how much noise they make but performance levels.

Since Lampard took the Goodison driving seat, no-one has outshone Iwobi. Having once been a boo boy among supporters, his remarkable career turnaround means he’s now a fans’ favorite.

No matter what position he’s been asked to fulfill, Iwobi has thrived under Lampard. His commitment, energy and vigor have been relentless. Even his most steadfast critics no longer point the finger at him.

It’s why the Nigeria international potentially being given the mantle shouldn’t be ruled out.