The Leeds victory was the 24-year-old’s first league start of the season, just the fifth of his 17-month Premier League career, and raised questions over how United could first sign, and then jettison, a player of such obvious technical quality.
“I expected that,” said Lampard. “I know Donny as a player from the outside.
“I brought him here because I know his talents. He can play, his intelligence and his work ethic – he’s a technical player.
“He matched the other players, he gave us a sense of calm, he linked the play and gave us a sense of confidence on the ball. That’s exactly what I brought him here to do.”
All sorts of theories, from the tactical to the conspiracy, surrounded Van de Beek and United’s baffling refusal to start him, a policy continued by Ralf Rangnick after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.
But Lampard, on the contrary, sees quality and versatility in the Dutchman and, while using him as a sitting central midfielder in the Leeds victory, is already considering other roles for him, of a more offensive nature.
“I think he can do different roles, and I think that’s the beauty and why I moved so quickly to get him when I came in,” added Lampard.
“I’m a big admirer of his as a player. He played in a double six today, and I know he’s got the talent to link and get us through the lines of the pitch with his passing.
“He’s got the work ethic needed in that role, I know he can do higher, he’s a goal threat too.
“That was one of the big pulls in getting him in, knowing that he can bring different elements of his game to help us in different ways. In that disciplined role today he did it really well.”
Certainly, although only a small sample size, this victory did much to suggest reports of Van de Beek’s demise were grossly exaggerated and so, too, Everton’s after the three points afforded them something of a cushion at the foot of the table while dragging Marcelo Bielsa’s side firmly back into the relegation zone’s gravitational pull.