Dominic Calvert-Lewin says that amid the spotlight on his performances and Everton's own struggle for consistency, he is revelling in his current role as the Blues' first-choice striker.
Due in large part to the dearth of attacking options at Goodison Park following the sale of Romelu Lukaku and then Cenk Tosun's failure thus far to set the Premier League alight, Calvert-Lewin was thrown into the deep-end as a young striker with precious little top-flight experience following his £1.5m move from Sheffield United in August 2016.
The 22-year-old has gradually proved worthy of the increasing faith instilled in him by current Blues boss, Marco Silva, even if he doesn't yet have the prolific strike rate to elevate him into the national consciousness but, as he tells The Times in an interview this weekend ahead of the visit of Manchester United, he feels he has already made enormous progress.
“What a position to be in,” he says when asked if it has been something of an ordeal spearheading an inconsistent team in front of a demanding fanbase. “I never ever felt sorry for myself. All I want to be is the No 9 leading the line, and for me to be in that position maybe a little earlier than I should have been — I was just revelling in that opportunity. The way I saw it was the more I got exposed, the more experience I got and the better I was going to get.
“At the moment, a lot of people are saying, ‘He doesn't score enough goals' or ‘Can he add goals to his game?' but, for me, I have come a long way from when I first came into the side,” he says. “Back then people were saying, ‘Well, he can't hold the ball up and he can't do this.'
“I am doing those things now, so there is always going to be something. If I get to 15 goals people will want 20 and then they will want 25. I just see it as another challenge in my career.”
Initially regarded as an acquisition for the Under-23s development side under David Unsworth, Calvert-Lewin made the step up to the first-team early in his Everton career, promoted by then manager Ronald Koeman in December 2016 and scored his first senior goal for the club the following March in a 4-0 win over Silva's Hull City.
Since then, the Sheffield-born forward has racked up 90 appearances in all competitions and come on leaps and bounds as a player during that time. He credits Unsworth and first-team coach Duncan Ferguson with his progress and he is focused now on emulating the likes of Harry Kane who made the step up from the England U20s and U21s to become a national goalscoring phenomenon.
“There are certain stepping stones and it has taken a while for me to get there,” Calvert-Lewin explains, “but I have been listening and learning the whole time. I think now I have kind of pieced all of my experiences together and things are falling into place.
“I always believe that in the next game I will set the world alight. When I do put all the pieces together, and I do start hitting the back of the net, then I am on a good course.”
Read the full (pay-walled) interview at: The Times
Reader Comments (68)
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1 Posted 20/04/2019 at 23:54:36
He should have praised Erwin Koeman, Craig Shakespeare and Sammy Lee.
2 Posted 21/04/2019 at 00:20:57
“It has not been so much learning to be aggressive, but learning what my body is capable of,” he says. “And learning that I can bully people and move people around. This season I am starting to realise my physical capabilities.
“My concentration levels have definitely had to increase in a game and in certain other scenarios. So, for example, taking more of a lead on set pieces and being more vocal, growing into the role and accepting more responsibility.”
But note the coaching acumen of Silva himself:
“The manager has done a lot of out-of-possession work with me in training. He has helped me with my positional play and the finer details which has made the game a lot easier for me.
“I have always covered ground in games, but it is about how I can be more efficient and get in better goalscoring positions.”
Good article. And the main take away is that Silva makes the game easier for him. Thats the great strength he has. He breaks the game down to simplicity and helps young players understand their job, and so, through coaching and repetition, makes them better.
3 Posted 21/04/2019 at 00:23:36
BUT I was wrong. Hes quick, hes strong. He has a decent touch and hes not bad in the air. Mostly he can hold the ball up
Last season he was crucial in our run under big Sam that assured our safety
This season hes looked decent in the 2nd half of the campaign against some good teams
Needs to be more of a goal threat, improve his finishing and continue his general improvement before I think hes the answer. But theres a player there
4 Posted 21/04/2019 at 00:31:52
5 Posted 21/04/2019 at 00:40:10
I have doubted him, not just because the goals were missing but because the self-assurance was missing. To me he has never shown the arrogant confidence a striker needs. Now he is. Over the past few months every touch, every run, every challenge has made him better. His learning curve is clear, and I no longer doubt that the goals will come. Eventually.
6 Posted 21/04/2019 at 00:43:37
We need to get someone this summer who we can feel confident next season that, when they are through on goal, 9 times out of 10 they are going to score.
7 Posted 21/04/2019 at 01:01:42
I hope he looks to himself, not coaching, in reaching for the top because true talent has always done that, in any club. If he wants an example I give him Jamie Vardy from the current era, but please Dominic don't take until you're 27, as he did, to make fame as a top class goalscorer.
8 Posted 21/04/2019 at 01:28:53
He does need to score more often, but I think hes getting better all the time and hope he makes it as a top forward for Everton for many years to come.
9 Posted 21/04/2019 at 01:43:19
His weakness is still a lack of anticipation in the 6 yard box and the inability to get a shot on target when through in a one on one with the 'keeper. If he can sort that then we may have a striker on our hands.
10 Posted 21/04/2019 at 01:55:25
He is not the finished article and you wouldnt expect him to be at his age. He has loads of great qualities and lots to work on.
I really hope we persist with him. Hes doing very well in a really difficult role.
11 Posted 21/04/2019 at 02:17:16
I think oddly its down to game time, which hes getting because we cant learn anything more from the other forwards.
That being the case Everton and in particular he needs the Europa league. If we dont get Europe I fear his game time will dwindle with another forward at the club.
My gut is to stick with him, because weve done the hard yards with him. Because selling him he just might take off.
12 Posted 21/04/2019 at 03:38:01
13 Posted 21/04/2019 at 04:14:07
Those three are the only players I know of who have scored 9 out of 10 times through on goal.
14 Posted 21/04/2019 at 06:26:58
I'd add the late Roy Vernon to that list!
15 Posted 21/04/2019 at 06:43:18
The lone striker role is a thankless one but he has the capacities to play it very well. I really hope he can get a few more goals in these last 4 games to send him into the summer brimming with confidence. He clearly works very hard and that along with his physical attributes should see him succeed in the PL.
16 Posted 21/04/2019 at 07:30:24
Theres only one way he can prove people wrong in that department and thats by taking more chances, the West Ham game was a prime example that he needs to find more composure in front of goal.
Credit where its due hes starting to work much harder again this season though, I thought at times last season his work rate was quite in and out a bit, now though hes doing that more regularly.
17 Posted 21/04/2019 at 07:46:22
There may be players who may be a more prolific prospect, but they have all have the financial giants sniffing all over them. They will cost a fortune, one which we don't have, or would be more sensible spending it over a number of positions.
DCL is ours, he seems to love it here, and is already paid for - rahter than spending a shit load of money on another maybe, i'd rather spend a bit of time and patience coaching him to find the net, cos the rest of his game is well on its way.
DCL and Richie could well become something special
18 Posted 21/04/2019 at 07:52:46
19 Posted 21/04/2019 at 08:41:07
20 Posted 21/04/2019 at 09:14:41
Congratulations for clearly stating your ambition. That ambition is to be Evertons no9.
Good for you Dom.
Your actions on the pitch support this ambition.
As Everton fans of late, how many promising youngsters have fizzled out without making an impact. ?
Everybody is stating we need a striker. We do. A striker to replace Cenk and as a back up to Dominic!
This guy has it all!
More goals will come as the team improves! His all round play against West Ham and especially Arsenal was excellent!
Everyone is calling for more passion from the players etc watch Dominics reaction in the tunnel post Arsenal...
Make it yours Dom!!!!
21 Posted 21/04/2019 at 09:22:38
He bullied Arsenal a couple of weeks ago, he has needed to add that aggression to his undoubted skill. Now he must acquire the selfish streak that will lead to him to score more goals. I think he will do that.
Good luck to the lad and well done, his progress has been one of the positives from our mixed season.
22 Posted 21/04/2019 at 09:57:48
Sadly, I think it's not going to work out for Cenk, and I can see him either back in Turkey or possibly the Bundersliga. Theo should take the ticket for the MLS if a good offer is tabled, and then there's Ouman Niasse, who I sincerely hope gets a decent move, as for me, he has always given his all. I don't think we will be able to move Sandro on due to his massive contract, but I think we will see permanent moved(finally) for Mirallas and Bolasie, if both are prepared to moderate their wage demands.
23 Posted 21/04/2019 at 09:59:10
If Calvert-Lewin is going to be our first-choice striker next season, he needs to be hitting these targets, in my opinion.
I think we desperately need to bring a top striker in this summer and, as these are very hard to find, I hope Brands has got something special up his sleeve like he did when he found Digne.
24 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:08:30
Sharp had Andy Gray to mentor him. Who has DCL got?
25 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:18:54
26 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:25:34
27 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:28:59
Lone strikers' learning curve are very different from those with a striker partner.
Hopefully, he kicks on, and we can have a get another backup striker to beef up the front.
Or else, we'll have to pay alot for someone, and then his development would be stalled.
28 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:29:19
29 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:42:58
30 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:50:29
31 Posted 21/04/2019 at 10:52:16
I have been banging the same drum for months, this team lacks goals and apart from Richarlison and Sigurdsson the goal return from the rest of the team has been woeful. Young players need to play to learn, but for this club who are supposed to have aspirations of a top 6 slot to play DCL in so many games is grossly unfair. As DCL knows strikers live and die by the goals they score, 6 so far this season in 32 appearances, but he isn't helped by Bernard 1 league goal all season and Walcott has scored 1 since August. Not good enough by a long chalk.
We keep hearing our ambition to challenge for top 6, they are light years ahead of us. Man Utd having a poor season are 6th 15 points clear of the 7th placed side. With such poor goal returns from our forwards how on earth are we going to challenge for a top 6 spot. I would implore Brands and Silva, when your looking at possible forwards to buy this summer, check their goal returns first. Because I reckon we need to increase our goals for account by at least 20 next season if we are serious about challenging the top 6.
32 Posted 21/04/2019 at 11:02:25
33 Posted 21/04/2019 at 11:29:21
He has got to add goals to his game and quickly.
Our main striker, if it is to be Dom next season, can't be scoring single figures in terms of Premier League goals if we are to progress.
34 Posted 21/04/2019 at 11:29:36
Tom Davies will be ruined if were not careful and some are turning on Kenny who plays his heart out.
DC-L has everything to be a top striker including goal scoring ability. Encouragement from the crowd will help him to show that he can and will score goals- Sharp went from a scorer of spectacular goals to a top goal scorer at 23-24 years old. DC-L is better than him at this age and I just hope he is allowed to complete his development.
35 Posted 21/04/2019 at 12:14:07
I look around the Premier League and compare DCL to the types of strikers around. He goes alright. We offer estimate the level of the strikers around the league.
We can argue he's not young anymore, but for the type of player I think he is. Just turned 22 and he's leading the line.
Our striker woes have been well documented but this could be the silver lining.
36 Posted 21/04/2019 at 12:31:14
Dom as done well since coming in but would he start for a top 4 side.
37 Posted 21/04/2019 at 12:54:19
38 Posted 21/04/2019 at 13:20:29
39 Posted 21/04/2019 at 13:23:00
"He's just turned 22 and he's leading the line".
So we have the age excuse again. Will we be saying this next season? "Just turned 23" etc?
What exactly does 'leading the line' mean? Does it provide goals for other players? Does it provide goals for himself? Is the team benefitting from his 'line-leadership'?
Our team is so hopeless, we seek any glimmer of hope in poor quality players. Each week, I hope our team, club and supporters cannot be further embarrassed by our performances. Then we get; Fulham 2 Everton 0. You never let us down Everton.
40 Posted 21/04/2019 at 20:42:03
For me we need 7 players for 4 positions, (LM, RM, CAM, CF), we have DCL, Richalison, Siggy, and Bernard, all nailed on. Next we need 2 out of the following, Oneykuru, Vlasic,or Lookman. After that we need a big money signing who is the level above what we already have, especially in terms of goals.
I'm not entirely sure we need an out and out forward as I don't think theres many out there, we need someone who can attack and hit close to 20 as Salah, Sterling, Mane, Hazard and Son do.
DCL should be allowed to mature into his roll, I honestly see Richalison can be a number 9, just look at his goals, there mostly forwards goals anyway, just like today's.
We have a decent team, a very good bunch of youngsters, we just need a jewell for in the crown.
I've moved off DCL a little, moving back to him, the guy has the attributes to become a top premier league player. He's tall, strong, fast and becoming brave, and two goals in his last 3 games and he's hit double figures !!
Niasse, Tosun, Walcott all need moving out, Hornby and Sambou need loaning out and all of a sudden our attack is looking youthful, aggressive and stylish.
Maybe, just maybe Silva is starting to get it right !!!
41 Posted 21/04/2019 at 21:47:16
At 22 he will improve more in the future. The fact he is prepared to put in the work and can pick up useful tips from Silva and Ferguson shows that he is self motivated to do so.
Good Luck to him he deserves it.
42 Posted 21/04/2019 at 21:53:05
43 Posted 21/04/2019 at 22:09:19
Already suffered enough of watching that fat lazy lump who was stuck in zoumas pocket today to know quite well that goals don't make the player.
Today and in other recent games vs the top 6 this lad gave us more output than lukaku ever did vs the top boys in all his years with us. It can't be measured just how much he makes it easier for our midfielders with the selfless work he does.
I've been on here many a time slating lukaku and that's cos I don't like him I don't like him as a person or a player - a charlatan with an ego bigger than his clumsy size 12 feet.
Arouna Kone used to come on and demonstrate just what we missed with lukaku. And kone wasnt a patch on DCL...
My prediction for DCL is big things. An England call up soon, goals will come and so will interest from the likes of Chelsea who like to have a target man option.
44 Posted 21/04/2019 at 22:18:41
Or. DCL plays his part in four nil win against MU. The guy improves by the week. Today, again, he had his back to the MU defence but won header after header or at least stopped Smalling getting a clean header in. So many times he chested a long ball down or laid it off with a pass. He ran all across the line. Just a matter of months ago I didnt think hed make it. Not so sure now! He now excites me.
45 Posted 21/04/2019 at 22:35:02
He is leaner, meaner, terrorises the defences he comes up against ( RS, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manure), wins almost every header, brings others into the game, and holds the ball up really well.
300 % better than last year, and I believe he will add goals to his game.
Well done Dominic, the hard yards are paying off.
46 Posted 21/04/2019 at 23:01:53
47 Posted 21/04/2019 at 23:34:07
Digne's throw-in was a microcosm of his effort today -- Smalling never had a chance against him on that header, and it produced a memorable opener from Richarlison.
DCL took another big step today at growing into the position. The goals will come.
48 Posted 22/04/2019 at 02:35:18
49 Posted 22/04/2019 at 05:51:46
I agree the goals will come as the play in the final third improves further. Richarlison play in the final third is improving as is Bernards.
I am hopeful Tosun does as well. He did try hard to work in Tosun system, but could not beat his marker. He was a yard of the pace and running into channels in anticipation of passes didn't work either, because his finishing was woeful. But with hard work on his fitness/ finishing ( needs to add a shot to his locker ) and Everton continuing improving play in the final third he may have something to offer.
Vadic ( on his definite return ) and Lookman needs to put in the work adding to their game this summer. They are good prospects , but that lazy bugger Walcott is ahead of them on game craft. I would also advise Vadic to keep his pole vaulting sister under wraps.
In my opinion Peter#43 Lukaku would find it difficult to get selected for the present Everton team. He would not be able to fulfil the dual role that Silva expects. A player has to be able to contribute to the high press to play in the Silva system.
Stats wise it remarkable how many tackles Bernard consistently gets in. Sometimes as many as six per game , the rate of s competent defender.
Definitely both Lukaku and Linekar just running into the ball, would not impress Silva. A Savour Forward was never in Brands or Silva's plans
50 Posted 22/04/2019 at 13:45:09
So, he's to be condemned, cos he's not quite as good as the [still] PL's all-time leading goal scorer, or a once-in-a-generation goal poacher.
The EPL is the toughest league on the planet; therefore, by definition, its top teams, contain some of the world's best defenders.
In the past few weeks, we have played most of the top teams. DCL has therefore, played lone striker, against some of the world's best defenders, and hasn't looked out of place.
Of course, we would like him to score more goals; but if he was adding 20 goals a season to his general play, he would be at Barca/Real/Man City, on £500,000 p.w. he would not be at Everton.
On TV a few weeks ago, was a 3-4 minute feature on DCL, by Alan Shearer; who noted his improvement, his work-rate, his hold-up play, and his increased physicality. AS concluded, that he was 'one to watch' for the future.
On the matter of centre-forward play [if nothing else] I think I'm going to go with Shearer's views, rather than those of Statler and Waldorf in Bullens Road!
51 Posted 22/04/2019 at 14:23:44
52 Posted 22/04/2019 at 14:40:31
Calvert-Lewin was earlier in the season winning just as many aerial battles but the rest of the team either didnt believe or couldnt get closer to him.
Note if the team step of the gas a touch, he becomes isolated and we get Fulham.
The root of the improvement comes from the collective, it has too, whilst we have talent we are not man for man better than several teams.
Calvert-Lewins biggest improvement is his fitness and strength, now capable of going almost the full 90 with the same impact, he remains focused because hes not knackered. That is yielding less basic errors which riddled his game a year ago.
I keep coming back to whether Everton will be patient and stick with him, or buy better version of him!? Theres a few parallels with Kane, he looked like nothing until he took off in the Europa league at a similar age. Id wager he has more goals than Kane at this age?!
Its a very tough call, which way will it go
53 Posted 22/04/2019 at 15:01:21
Im a big fan.
54 Posted 22/04/2019 at 16:34:40
At the same age when Harry Kane was dropping down the leagues and out on loan (and not being selected regularly, or being a prolific goal scorer in a lesser league) for the likes of Leyton Orient, Milwall, Leicester and Norwich, Dom has been playing exclusively PL football at Everton under various managers, in dysfunctional teams.
Until his most recent elevation to the first team as our lead forward, I actually thought that this season he wasn't showing the same consistency or level of performance as he did when entrusted by Sam Allardyce last season, ahead of the arrival of Tosun and Walcott. But he is playing extremely well now.
For me, he has always demonstrated a good touch, an ability to take the ball and get it under control no matter how it came to him, the capacity to hold off defenders in tight situations, excellent heading ability, and good pace. It was the cooler more clinical finishing that he has most needed to improve in his game.
He also demonstrates a narky streak in him, as well as good game nounce. He'll leave one on a player and be cute enough to win free kicks, even get people sent off (Walker away to City last season comes to mind, as well as winning a penalty at Anfield last season to salvage a draw).
Now he is physically bigger and stronger, as well as being more learned and taking on board what his coaches want from him, he is becoming a very important cog in the team.
He needs complementing with another quality striker, be that as playing together or simply to rotate games between them. Because he cannot be expected to fill his given role alone across an entire season. I still remember how goosed he looked in games at WBA and Bournemouth over the Xmas-New Year period under Allardyce as he was given no respite.
And based on this interview - and all his appearances on Everton TV – he is an intelligent bubbly character, popular with his team mates, with the drive in him to succeed.
I genuinely believe he is destined to have an impressive career.
55 Posted 22/04/2019 at 16:54:38
He has made a mark for himself and has become a target man up there with the best of them.
Even though he is not scoring prolifically his mere presence and work rate other is benefitting the team big time.
Just an aside note what is it with Klopp ?? He says RS were unbelievable. Excuse me but a win against Cardiff does not constitute any great merit. He does tend to go overboard far too often, jerk !
56 Posted 22/04/2019 at 18:09:02
57 Posted 22/04/2019 at 19:17:57
The amount of time he forces defenders into conceding unnecessary corners and throw ins has been the difference, a real team player. all strikers have baron spells but if he carries on in this vein his luck will come and if he can become a regular 10 - 15 goal a season guy then watch the others around him reap the benefits.
58 Posted 23/04/2019 at 06:31:15
Year / Matches (EPL) / Goals / Assists
2018-19 / 28 / 17 / 4
2017-18 / 37 / 30 / 2
2016-17 / 30 / 29 / 7
2015-16 / 38 / 25 / 1
2014-15 / 34 / 21 / 4
Kane is 25 years old this year.
He's been scoring alot more goals in EPL at 20 or 21 years old, compared to DCL.
Dom could still have a breakthrough next season, and even if he doesn't turn highly prolific for another 2 years, that doesn't mean he won't.
Sharp's breakthrough season in '85, came when he was 24 years old.
59 Posted 23/04/2019 at 07:10:24
I think Calvert-Lewin has done very well over the last couple of months, especially in the home games, but Sharp was much more prolific in his early years than Dom has been.
60 Posted 23/04/2019 at 09:22:26
DCL is certainly a grafter and a team player. His selfless running and aerial ability is creating space for others. He needs to add more goals but doesn't need to score as many as Kane to still be very productive.
61 Posted 23/04/2019 at 10:40:39
At the moment I think DCL is doing a similar, if not even better, job. Not many strikers have height and strength along with great mobility. It suits him perfectly to the lone striker role. He already has 6 goals across 31 goals and quite a few of those have been sub appearances of playing out wide. If he can get 10-15 goals a season (similar to Firmino) while occupying defences in the way he has against Chelsea, Arsenal and United then I think Silva will be very happy with him.
If he can score more than that, whilst also working that hard for the team, then i fear he won't be at Everton very long.
62 Posted 23/04/2019 at 12:49:18
Does DCL have that ability? I like the kid a lot, but that innate ability just doesn't appear to exist for him.
I would love to be proved wrong - he certainly has a lot of effective facets to his game.
63 Posted 23/04/2019 at 16:14:18
They expressed view that Everton can't afford a 20-goal striker, and even if they could, it may be detrimental to the team, if said striker doesn't contribute elsewhere.
They also considered that Everton would be better sticking with DCL in the expectation that he will continue to improve and add goals to his game. I have to say, through gritted teeth, that I agree with the Sky pundits.
64 Posted 23/04/2019 at 16:28:59
65 Posted 23/04/2019 at 18:02:53
66 Posted 23/04/2019 at 18:59:27
67 Posted 25/04/2019 at 15:39:27
Nicholas (50) - Worth also noting that Alan Shearer wasn't Alan Shearer at this stage in his development. DCL has 31 goals in 110 games, Shearer had 43 in 158.
A first choice striker doesn't need to be our priority signing in the summer. Add depth and quality around the team. If DCL takes another step forward and becomes a 15+ goal striker; which is very possible given his improvement and the current stage of his development, then that's as exciting as any new signing.
68 Posted 27/04/2019 at 11:47:34
New 20+ goal a season striker needed if we are to get anywhere near the top 6.
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