Already A World Cup Winner, Calvert-Lewin Is Answering His Critics At Everton

It's been a seismic season for the 22-year-old at Goodison Park
15:00, 21 Jan 2020

Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

"Of course he can play for England, no doubt for this,” the new Toffees manager said of the Blues' number nine at Monday's press conference.

“England has fantastic strikers, he has to fight, but I think he has the quality and possibility to be a great striker for England.” 

Whether or not he makes the grade for the Euros in the absence of Harry Kane remains to be seen but regardless, this has been a seismic season for the young striker.

When Everton host Newcastle on Tuesday evening under the lights at Goodison Park, Calvert-Lewin will be looking to build on his four goals in six matches after scoring the equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Eleven strikes by mid-January is an impressive return for a player who is still only 22 and has been thrown in at the deep end right from the off.

Signed from Sheffield United with massive potential, he has led the line, often in isolation, during a mess of a time for Everton. Already, he has played under four permanent managers since joining in 2016.

The pressure heaped on his young shoulders has been huge.

Tasked with being the main man in attack, he’s delivered and been a fantastic foil, putting in some talismanic performances.

Even now, he is the experienced head needed to guide a 19-year-old Moise Kean only three years his junior. It’s a lot to take on, but he’s dealing with the expectation and growing game by game.

He just never stops. He runs and he runs and he runs. Lost causes, he’s there. Closing down defender after defender, he’s there with every pass, closing down and putting more and more pressure on.

His ability to take the ball on his chest and play people in is exquisite and his decision-making in the air has come on leaps and bounds with guidance from Duncan Ferguson. 

He is getting clever and savvy, winning fouls and dragging the team up the pitch.

However, while Ancelotti has been won over just weeks after arriving at Goodison, for a small section of the Everton fanbase this one has been more of a slow burner.

The Italian added in Monday’s presser: "He works really hard. I think he has to be focused more. He has to stay in the box because there he is really dangerous."

Evertonians will agree.

There was no doubting his effort, determination and endeavour but some on the terraces in L4 doubted his capabilities in front of goal. 

So much work he had to do with his back to goal, it was difficult to get him into scoring positions. When he was there, he fluffed his lines.

Too often he’d work himself into an excellent position but rush his effort straight into the goalkeeper’s grateful arms. Other times, the ball would fall so kindly but he’d skew wide. Frustration was growing. 

Others wanted him to use his pace more to run in behind but, as a sole striker for so long, that had been difficult. He should thrive in Everton’s new 4-4-2 though.

The consensus has been that Calvert-Lewin is good at what he does, but is he really a goalscorer, a goalscorer Everton have lacked since they allowed Romelu Lukaku to leave?

The answer is probably not, that’s not to doubt his capabilities but because he is too good at doing the dirty work for others to slot home. 

Sure, he will get ten to fifteen goals, no doubt, but his abilities point to him being vital for those around him rather than relying on him to solely score himself. 

This season, he’s answered his critics, not fully, but he’s certainly earned their respect and backing. 

Now, there is a calmness and maturity to his game and the ball is hitting the back of the net. Rather than being written off, he has the support and the situation is more a ‘wait and see’ in the eyes of those who weren’t entirely convinced.

His movement to head home at West Ham was impressive, pulling off the defender before storming back in to head home Mason Holgate’s flick-on.

In 2017, he joined Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters as the only England players to score in a World Cup final when he got the winner in the Under 20s tournament showpiece against Venezuela and so has succeeded with his country before.

There is still room for improvement when bearing down on goal but this is the season in which DCL has arrived. Should he be called on by the Three Lions, he’s ready.

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