At the start of the new season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasn’t considered an option to lead the line for Everton.

Now, the 20-year-old has seen off Sandro Ramírez, pushed Wayne Rooney back into the midfield and is being considered for a possible senior England call-up.

The under-21 international has four goals and six assists this term, and has been one of the brighter points of the Toffees’ season.

Born in Sheffield, he was bought in 2016 for the measly sum of £1.62million from Sheffield United, and helped the Young Lions win the Under-20 World Cup last summer.

Going into that tournament, he’d only made 11 league appearances for Everton – starting just five. Contrast to the current campaign in which he’s featured 27 times for the Merseyside club and played a big part in their Europa League run.

Recently he’s had to content himself with a role off the bench, with the 90 minutes he played against Burnley on Saturday his first start since the December 23.

The additions of Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott saw him fall down the pecking order, but his goal against Arsenal, although only a consolation, brought him back to the fore.

“The manager told me to run hard: to get forward and back and try to affect the game,” Calvert-Lewin said after the game. His criticism of his performance shows he is willing to put the effort in to improve: “I got the goal but, arguably, it was a mistake from myself for Arsenal’s fifth goal, so it was a disappointing afternoon.”

His finish was one to admire: getting on the end of Cuco Martina’s cross, he was in the perfect position, rose well and guided the ball past Petr Čech.

In only 340 minutes last season, his numbers were nothing to get excited about. But, under both Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, he has continued to build on his performances, not only increasing his output but sustaining it over a longer period of time.


Although Calvert-Lewin’s numbers may not have jumped up massively, he’s playing more minutes, which could have seen them drop, but he’s grown into a very exciting prospect.

Turning 21 years old later in the month, he’s now averaging 2.1 shots per 90 minutes, and has increased his accuracy from 16.6 per cent to 38 per cent – a huge improvement. And with his expected goals per 90 (xG90) rate dropping from 0.33 to 0.23, it shows he is managing to turn more difficult opportunities into shots on target.

He is also completing more dribbles and key passes, which is one of his most-improved strengths.

In the graphics above, you can see the intelligence shown to set up Wayne Rooney against Manchester City.

After making the run in behind Vincent Kompany, he forces the Belgian defender to react and try to recover.

Anticipating the centre-back was going to ground, the young forward uses his eagerness against him, checks back, leaves the 31-year-old for dead and then gets his head up to pick out the former United forward on his return to Manchester.

Rumours recently emerged that Glenn Murray, with 11 goals at Brighton & Hove Albion, is in line for a England call-up, but Gareth Southgate isn’t going to gain anything from picking the 34-year-old.

When you are looking to the future, and you already have Jamie Vardy at 31 years old, you can look past the likes of Callum Wilson, Charlie Austin, Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray. They are all over 26.

The Toffees youngster, as well as Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham, who both have England caps, are the only forwards aged under 24 to have scored four goals this term – plus Calvert-Lewin has six assists.

With one eye on the future – and without suggesting he is anywhere near being picked for the World Cup this summer – bringing Calvert-Lewin into the fold, letting him experience life in the England squad and taking a closer look at his personality can only be of benefit to the Three Lions in the long term.

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