Everton women hail the Frank Lampard effect as they prepare for Super League derby

When Izzy Christiansen emerges from the Anfield tunnel to the roar of 20,000 supporters, she will feel the backing of not just Everton fans but of her whole club.

Sounds obvious, doesn't it? And yet, for women's football, that support feels new.

"A huge amount of credit needs to be given to Frank Lampard and his staff," says Izzy of the Everton men's manager.

"They've really increased the mood around the club. There's a real connection between the men's and women's teams. A real integration.

"Encouraging each other and acknowledging our weekend's results. Those are the building blocks.

"It's great for us to know we have Frank and his team behind us, all working in the same direction to push the club onwards."

The Lionesses after their Euros win. Credit: PA images

Everton were at the forefront of the more recent resurgence of women's football, cultivating household name Lionesses like Nikkita Parris and Jill Scott.

Jill, 35, had to commute from her home in Sunderland to Liverpool because she needed a second job back home to make ends meet - her career spanned something of a revolution in the sport.

Izzy and Jill were teammates at Manchester City, who pushed for the greater integration of male and female footballers within clubs.

The Manchester City Women's team celebrate onstage during the trophy parade in Manchester. Credit: PA images

They included the women's team on their end of season homecoming parades through Manchester and emblazoned the hashtag "Together" on all of their branding.

Captain Vincent Kompany and manager Pep Guardiola were also seen attending Women's Super League matches.

"It took time to build that rapport," said Izzy. "It's a bit like earning respect. The interest became more and more the women's team became more successful.

"I think that's like everything with the growth of the women's game. You have to prove that you're there and then the interest comes.

Nikita Parris has earned 67 caps for the Lionesses so far. Credit: PA images

"And I think the Lionesses have proved it by winning the Euros. Everyone has raised their eyebrows and said 'Wow. These women can play'.

"I think we're passed that hurdle now. To have that support from Frank Lampard and have his encouragement, working parallel with us as a team, is fantastic."

Five years ago, during a tour of City's shared facilities, I asked about people comparing the standard of football between men and women.

The message back then was to treat hem as "two different sports in their own right." Now that message appears to be evolving.

Isobel Mary Christiansen plays as a midfielder or forward for Everton. Credit: PA images

From sharing stadiums with the men to including Ellen White among the likes of Wayne Rooney and Sir Bobby Charlton in England's goalscoring charts.

And even the Lionesses' adoption of the "Three Lions" anthem, and talk of ending "56 years of hurt" at the Euros, is all part of a more integrated mindset within football.

One which is clearly important to Frank Lampard and could put Everton back at the forefront of women's football again.

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