The coronavirus crisis came at the worst time for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, forcing the shutdown of football when he was in a rich vein of form and on the cusp of the England setup but the young striker is no stranger to hard work and difficult circumstances
Whether or not top-flight football should resume in a couple of weeks' time and whether there is any sanctity left in the spirit of the game given that it will restart without fans — and, potentially, a Merseyside derby taking place on neutral soil — is obviously open to debate. If there is a saving grace about seeing 2019-20 to completion, though, it's that the scoring exploits of Dominic Calvert-Lewin won't be lost to history.
The young striker was enjoying his breakout moment as a Premier League striker when the season was abruptly but necessarily suspended in March when the COVID-19 pandemic began its sweep across Britain and there was a possibility, however small, that the season might have to be curtailed and declared null and void… with its statistics and results potentially scrubbed with it.
Unless there is a significant coronavirus outbreak among top-flight clubs in the coming weeks, those remaining 92 matches will now be played and it offers Calvert-Lewin the chance to add to a goals tally that currently stands at 15, the most by an Everton player since Romelu Lukaku's final season, and continue his emergence as a forward of considerable talent and worth.
No one really knows what football is going to be like and feel like for the players once it resumes but the hope, of course, is that the long disruption won't have derailed Calvert-Lewin's scoring form… or that of his strike partner, Richarlison, for that matter. Certainly, he can't ever have been in better shape (as social media photos of him on his exercise bike, all sweat and chiselled six-pack, no doubt attest) but it remains to be seen how he and his team-mates emerge from three months of inaction.
It is, perhaps, those individual goals and achievements that might matter more when football resumes as a mere formality, stripped of its lifeblood in the stands, particularly given that Everton might soon have little to play for. Calvert-Lewin, however, has been particularly unfortunate given the timing of the shutdown because he was on the cusp of breaking into the senior England setup.
Harry Kane's injury lay-off meant that Dominic, as the in-form English striker, was a standout candidate to lead Gareth Southgate's attack in Euro 2020 if the Spurs star didn't make it but with that tournament now shelved until 2021 at least and the immediate future of international matches up in the air, his England prospects are on hold.
The good thing is that “DCL” is still relatively young, has time on his side and those admirers of his, Southgate included, no doubt, won't have forgotten the impact he was having at club level before the virus hit. If that form continues, he will inevitably get his shot at international level; in the meantime, he gets to continue justifying his bold claim to the prestigious No 9 Everton jersey under Carlo Ancelotti.
“It was a statement of intent for myself. Whether the fans doubted that was I capable of scoring goals, I knew I was,” Calvert-Lewin told one half of the Men In Blazers, Roger Bennett, in a Zoom interview for NBCSports this weekend. “So, I think with me asking for the number 9 shirt, it was welcoming that responsibility challenge and welcoming that pressure. I've always thrived under pressure and I enjoy that.”
That famous number may have been besmirched to a degree by the fact that it has been handed, unjustifiably in the eyes of some, to the likes of Arouna Koné and Sandro Ramirez (who accumulated 79 appearances between them and managed just 10 goals) but its significance to Blues fans remains. It was no small demand for Calvert-Lewin to make — he was a young striker, still largely unproven with many, this writer included (but read on for the caveat), still doubting that he would ever be able to live up to its history or the demands of the fanbase as a whole.
After all, under Marco Silva, the Sheffield-born player had developed the reputation of the striker who didn't score. As Everton struggled under the Portuguese over the first few months of the season, Calvert-Lewin registered just three league goals. He had shown flashes of his predatory talents with a well-taken brace back in his home city in a League Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday and stepped off the bench at Brighton to score what might have proved to be a priceless winner had it not been for the scandalous intervention of VAR, but overall he was struggling to find the net on a consistent basis.
His tireless work ethic and physical presence — two hallmarks of his game that really should be appreciated — were there in abundance but the feeling was that that wasn't going to be enough. With Moise Kean needing time to adjust to life in England and looking himself a long way from being the answer up top, the club was surely going to have to make signing a centre-forward capable of filling Lukaku's shoes a priority in the summer of 2020.
There was a big caveat with the lack of faith in Calvert-Lewin's ability to be that player to succeed the prolific Belgian, however, and that was Silva's stubborn insistence on deploying him as a lone striker when it had become increasingly obvious that that was not going to lend itself to him scoring regularly.
It was little surprise, then, that when Duncan Ferguson assumed temporary control following Silva's dismissal and partnered DCL with Richarlison in a 4-4-2, the goals started flowing, sparked by a stirring brace in a memorable and cathartic win over Chelsea. When Carlo Ancelotti took charge of his first game on Boxing Day last year, it was Calvert-Lewin who scored the first goal of the new manager's reign as part of a run that saw him score 10 times in 14 games. A terrific return by any measure, more than enough for the rest of the game to sit up and take notice and the new manager wisely elected not to tinker with a budding strike partnership.
“I really enjoy playing with Richy,” he explained to Bennett. “It's something that's come naturally. Our games and our styles of play have just clicked and he's worked hard like I do myself so I think we're working for each other. When he scores, he's over the moon and when I score, he's over the moon and I think that's the key to having a good strike partnership — just being happy when we succeed and we succeed together.”
It's that down-to-earth attitude combined with ceaseless drive to improve that makes Calvert-Lewin so easy to like and root for and it explains why he has come as far as he has at Everton despite the instability that has plagued the club since he arrived. Initially signed for David Unsworth's Under-23s side as “one for the future”, he has been in the Toffees' first-team setup for the vast majority of his four years at Goodison. Ancelotti is the sixth coach the forward has played under since joining the club from Sheffield United in 2016.
DCL has unquestionably improved in spite of those difficult circumstances, being played out of position and given the forlorn task of leading the line as a lone striker in what was, until recently, a largely ineffective attacking team. He is by no means the finished article, he still isn't always as clinical as he needs to be, but he is emerging as a true penalty box predator when given the support from playing in a two and with the space that affords him.
“I took it upon myself to put the time into not being a workhorse centre-forward but [work on] the finer details to get myself into positions,” he said. “I don't think there's any magic potion but I feel like the experiences I've had and the age I'm at now, the penny's dropped and it's all coming together at the right place and the right time.
“It's all about living and breathing the game and that's what I've had to do,” he continued, echoing what he told The Athletic in March: “It's all about being in the right position and that doesn't come by accident.”
Still only 23 but always mature beyond his years, Calvert-Lewin, who once scored the goal that clinched for his country the U20 World Cup, is now blossoming into a goalscorer worthy of the growing attention he has been getting from beyond Merseyside. Ancelotti has publicly expressed his belief that he has all the qualities to become one of the best in his position in Europe and his worth to Everton was reflected in the award of a second contract extension which he signed earlier this year. It ties him to the Toffees until 2025, by which time he could be leading the Everton attack in a brand new stadium on the banks of the royal blue Mersey.
As the country remains in the grip of the coronavirus crisis and both the short-term future of the Premier League and the longer-term outlook of football finance and transfers are so uncertain, Everton's new stadium and the bright new world it promises feel an awfully long way away.
But in the interim, given the fact that Marcel Brands's and Ancelotti's team-building plans may have to adapt, there's a certain comfort in knowing that in the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Blues have a budding young strike force in place. Fingers crossed that recruitment team can build the team around them that is capable of realising Evertonian ambitions.
Reader Comments (98)
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1 Posted 31/05/2020 at 08:31:33
When I discuss football with friends who are supporters of other teams, they all speak of there being no-one like him coming through in the Premier League. They would all take him in a heartbeat; that confirms exactly what I was thinking.
We will have a much sought-after pairing of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to build a team around – but keeping hold of them both may prove difficult as they progress.
2 Posted 31/05/2020 at 08:46:55
Hone the finishing and he can become a very good centre-forward for Everton FC.
3 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:16:57
Heaven forbid we bring Kenny back and shoehorn Davies into the side as well. We might as well scrap the Under-23s because they don't produce anyone and just aim for tin-pot silverware with 26-year-old has-beens playing against 16-year-olds from every other club.
Unsworth and his cronies are here on sentiment and the sooner that changes, the sooner we will start being successful again.
4 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:23:35
One lucky season does not constitute a striker. Championship standard at best. Him and Holgate have been the most overrated youngsters this millennium: a striker who blatantly can't finish and a centre-back with no muscle.
I seriously think those words might come back to haunt you – assuming we ever get back to normal.
5 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:33:36
6 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:33:43
As also mentioned in the article, he noticeably improved as part of a two upfront but it is important that this doesnt become a limitation of his game. I think he could adapt to other formations as long as there were numbers joining him in attack with pace and energy.
7 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:33:49
8 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:36:47
He's now spending more time in the middle of the goals, and his strike rate has picked up accordingly. And there is more to come. He's quick, strong, good in the air and can score. He's got enough to suggest this isn't a flash in the pan.
Previously managers had him isolated, chasing scraps on the wings. No wonder the lad didn't score.
9 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:42:52
10 Posted 31/05/2020 at 09:59:16
11 Posted 31/05/2020 at 10:02:22
12 Posted 31/05/2020 at 10:05:05
13 Posted 31/05/2020 at 10:25:29
However, the lad is a tremendous all-round player, is intelligent, works hard, is level-headed and articulate and deserves to succeed at the highest level – which I think he will.
14 Posted 31/05/2020 at 10:41:28
DCL is forging his reputation the hard way, through sheer determination to improve, and he is clearly a good listener, and I really do hope he makes the grade as a senior international. Harry Kane is a good role model in many ways for Dominic, there were question marks on him as a youngster but 5 years on, he looks a complete centre-forward, and again, mentally he seems to always be focussed.
On Derek's point (#7) I tend to agree we need to worry about defence and midfield, and lockdown has had me reflecting on just how poor our transfer policy has been in the last 4 years, I would like to think Don Carlo will be given a free hand to re-model the squad as he sees fit, and this could mean some Redknapp-style wheeler-dealing, with player swaps and even free or low-yield transfers for some of the fringe players, maybe the likes of Rodriguez, Dowell and Pennington?
15 Posted 31/05/2020 at 10:44:31
16 Posted 31/05/2020 at 11:23:31
Of course, the problem is solved if we can buy a goal-scoring right-midfielder but they are hard to come by. And we won't have one for the remaining 9 games.
I don't think we get the best out of Richarlison by playing him on the right but I just wonder if it might get the best out of the team? Struggling to convince even myself but does anyone see any merit in the idea? If (and it's a big ‘if') Kean comes back flying and starts looking like the £24M hotshot we hoped he'd be, is this our strongest team:
Coleman Mina Holgate Digne
Richarlison Gomes Delph Iwobi
I just think Kean might prove a more important cog than Walcott and perhaps it would be good to get him some more starts. He was pretty good in his last start against Newcastle.
17 Posted 31/05/2020 at 13:20:48
18 Posted 31/05/2020 at 13:45:04
I could see Kean and Calvert-Lewin working well in a 5-3-2 with Sigurdsson lurking behind the strikers. Digne and Sidibé would probably enjoy it – but that leaves out Richarlison.
Personally I think, with what we've got, we're best going for Calvert-Lewin + Richarlison + Iwobi as a front three. Then Gomes, Delph and Sigurdsson as a three in midfield. That's also 3 goalscorers (if we forgive Sigurdsson his shitness so far this season) but also decently compact.
From 1 June, presumably we also have the tantalising prospect of Bolasie and Ramirez from the bench...
19 Posted 31/05/2020 at 14:02:23
20 Posted 31/05/2020 at 14:15:24
Fuck this nice guy image this club wishes to portray. See where that has got us for the last 30 years or more.
21 Posted 31/05/2020 at 14:43:44
Football is a fundamentally simple game and players like clarity.
DCL's response to Carlo was 'It was music to my ears'.
Sam @ 16. Sorry. Can't agree with your proposal. You don't break up your most pontent pairing up front in attempt to accommodate another player in the hope he comes good. Kean has to earn a place by right, not sympathy.
The speed, heading, hold up play and interchange between DCL and Richie transformed the team when Carlo - following Duncan's example - paired them together. Why neuter that?
How many like me were exasperated under Silva when DCL was chasing after his own knock-ons, so isolated he was up front with Richie and Walcott hugging the touchlines and Siggy not close enough (behind him) in support?
Sean @ 20.
You do realise when people describe DCL as 'affable, articulate and level headed' they are describing how he comes across in off-field interviews.
On the pitch, in case you haven't noticed, he and Holgate are our two 'nasty snidey fuckers' that you (quite reasonably) crave.
22 Posted 31/05/2020 at 15:00:16
Where I do agree with you, Kevin, I want Unsworth to leave his cosy (well paid) job and manage in the lower leagues. He is not Gerrard or Frank Lampard, Rangers or Chelsea aren't gonna come calling. Joey Barton is doing fine in the lower leagues, as is Lee Bowyer, that is where "Big David" needs to prove himself.
23 Posted 31/05/2020 at 15:03:08
Suarez and Diego Costa are great players when you have 3 extra men playing in black (or whatever the chosen colour is by the media's top 6). I cannot remember when we have ever had an invite.
24 Posted 31/05/2020 at 15:22:25
That midfield 3 only shows how desperate we are to bring in some real quality in midfield.
25 Posted 31/05/2020 at 15:43:07
26 Posted 31/05/2020 at 15:48:16
But I'm also happy to be proven wrong. What a difference a good coach & mentor makes. Ancelotti comes in and gives him simple instruction. You're a striker, get in the box and stop chasing corner flags (Dominic's perspective from an interview earlier this year). The result; more goals.
How many strikers did Moyes used to have chasing corner flags because it showed effort? People used to lament Lukaku for his poor touch and lack of effort. He consistently scored 20+ goals a season. That's a striker worth his weight in gold.
27 Posted 31/05/2020 at 16:11:24
We need to improve the midfield with 2 key recruitments – I wouldn't mind seeing Gueye back here. Sell Schneiderlin and Delph, they need to be replaced with much better quality.
We need to write off Gbamin, sadly. Hopefully, Davies and Iwobi can step up without the pressure of the crowd and cement their places in the squad.
28 Posted 31/05/2020 at 17:04:21
Lovely day for fishing, Kevin, keep up the good work, you got a few bites.
If our budget is seriously depleted now, we will hopefully shift some dross and save money on run-down contracts. I know we need a centre-midfielder, right-midfielder and centre-back. If we had to put all resources into just one signing, then it must be a quality centre-midfielder.
29 Posted 31/05/2020 at 17:24:02
30 Posted 31/05/2020 at 17:31:59
I was imagining him playing in right-midfield if we continue with Ancelotti's 4-4-2, which is not my preferred formation but he seems keen. None of the central midfielders we have make a good 2 in the middle but Gomes and Delph our the best shot, I reckon.
31 Posted 31/05/2020 at 17:51:19
Slightly off topic and with pessimism honed after 60 years supporting EFC, don't we just know that, whoever we play in the last 9 games, our opponents will be rested and raring to go, whilst we will look as though we've never met each other and have forgotten everything?
Oh dear, pass me another gin and tonic, nurse.
32 Posted 31/05/2020 at 17:59:56
'Yhe problem is I see him being too affable and polite on the pitch.'
Then I suggest you are not watching him closely enough.
Calvert-Lewin most definitely has an edge to his game.
33 Posted 31/05/2020 at 18:44:43
"It's the nasty buggers that get the goals and bring success."
Of the most successful goalscorers in the world right now -- Messi, Cristiano, Lewandowski, Kane, Immobile, Werner, Mbappe -- not one would fit the description of a "nasty bugger."
In fact the only really good striker I know of who has genuine "bite" these days (not a Suarez chomp, but a knack for a sharp tackle) is our own Richarlison.
I think you're stuck in a bit of a time warp, mate.
PS... our old friend Antony Evans is on the bench for Paderborn as they are losing to Dortmund. And a bit of class in that game as Sancho, after scoring, unveiled a t-shirt saying "Justice for George Floyd". Several Paderborn players gave him a fist bump for it, even though they'd just given up a goal. Another issue that's bigger than footy.
34 Posted 31/05/2020 at 19:30:05
All the players you mention are all nasty but they are very clever with it. Nastiness comes in many ways.
35 Posted 31/05/2020 at 20:11:23
36 Posted 31/05/2020 at 20:26:17
The only player to grace the hallowed turf and wear the coveted royal blue jersey who could be mentioned with the greats Mike lists is our very own William Ralph Dean – and he is light years above them all.
37 Posted 31/05/2020 at 20:45:30
38 Posted 31/05/2020 at 20:49:54
39 Posted 31/05/2020 at 21:24:13
When/where/how did I do that?
Never. Didn't even mention him in that post.
40 Posted 31/05/2020 at 21:38:54
41 Posted 31/05/2020 at 22:05:56
He's developing all the time and he's clever and tough, mentally and physically. I'm very glad he's ours and that he's paired with another strange one in Richarlison. They need to get better, individually and as a partnership, and I think they will.
42 Posted 31/05/2020 at 22:08:43
Remember when Lukaku got 25 PL goals for us, only all of Kanes penalties with himself and Alli diving for fun meant Rom didn't get the golden boot. Rom was a goal machine for us, and always gets overlooked.
43 Posted 31/05/2020 at 23:34:28
When we do resume, teams will be able to field 5 subs but will take a week or so to get back up to speed, it was never likely our neighbours would slip up, but everything is in their favour now, players back from injury, players refreshed and no worries of a bear pit Goodison, for their first game back.
Should just void the league and give them the title.
44 Posted 31/05/2020 at 23:44:02
He'll get a fair amount of goals in his own right, but his real strength is as supporting striker. To do that, he's best played in a 4-4-2, which we have been doing, but is that just because of the players Carlo has at his disposal right now? I am not sure 4-4-2 has a place in the modern game, as you will get overrun in midfield.
it's all well and good having 2 strikers on the pitch but, if you lose control of the midfield, then they have no supply and because you are overrun, the defence is going to be under pressure.
Ultimately you concede more even though on paper and in principle you went for a more attacking approach; there are different ways to attack. Then again, look at Liverpool: they rarely use their midfield. I suppose it comes down to how you want to play the game.
Back on track, fair credit to DCL for proving me wrong and to the current management for spotting that in him.
45 Posted 31/05/2020 at 23:47:31
William Ralph is light-years ahead of them all, in my opinion.
Henry, a bigger cheat than Maradona.
Cantona, not good enough for France.
Zola, not good enough for Italy.
Weah??? Had a cousin.
Kane, England's best striker by a country mile.
46 Posted 01/06/2020 at 00:15:10
47 Posted 01/06/2020 at 02:58:15
48 Posted 01/06/2020 at 08:21:21
The role of centre-forward at Everton is demanding, leading the line and the high press. It was also made difficult during the Silva era, with predominant wing play, an under-performing midfield, poor pass completion in the final third, and lack of a through-ball. This to some extent can still be the case.
The one thing that Ancelotti has tried to improve on is the positional play of the forwards, particularly in Dominic's case, attacking the near-post space. Dominic has improved in this area, but is still caught short. His finishing has improved, but he still hasn't hit the standard of a consistent Premier League goalscorer. None of us think of him in those terms.
This coming season will determine whether he has the ability to progress further. I know he has the ability and motivation to put the necessary work, and hope he finally gets it all together, though in a team game he is dependent on his colleagues also progressing. The loss of Gbamin and lack of competition in midfield does not help, hopefully this situation will be remedied during the transfer window.
49 Posted 01/06/2020 at 08:37:09
I would often shake my head in total disbelief when I heard the comments and abuse directed at this boy. Here was clearly a player. Despite being used as a pack mule by cowardly managers who were too afraid to give him support, he always gave a good account of himself, even chasing back down the wings.
Big Dunc is rightly credited with giving him a partner to shoulder the burden, but a lot of the credit must go to David Unsworth too. It was Rhino who spotted his potential, it was Rhino who persuaded the club to sign him and it was Rhino who repeatedly told the doubters that the goals would come.
I guess Calvert-Lewin would be worth around £80M and rising in today's market. We paid what? £1.5M?... I so wish Brands could show that sort of judgement instead of squandering vast fortunes on players who simply are not good enough.
50 Posted 01/06/2020 at 09:14:31
A curious poacher. As everyone says, he is clearly at his best in a striking partnership and doesn't achieve as much in terms of a goal threat if he is isolated – as he was under Silva – or ridiculously miscast – as he was under Koeman when he had that one game at right-back.
51 Posted 01/06/2020 at 09:23:05
Graeme Sharp could score goals and play for the team, as he proved when playing with Lineker. He provided the graft and the guile to enable Gary to score a lot of those goals in that one season Lineker was here. He took a back seat and let Gary take the glory, but he was very much part of that combination.
Calvert-Lewin, I think, will continue to be a big part of Everton's future, either scoring or providing assists to many goals.
52 Posted 01/06/2020 at 09:56:02
This is interesting as it means that the 'front 2' looks to be the best way forward, which is a break from the now standards front 3 or 1.
4-4-2, is the way forward it would seem.
And Sam #16, can't agree. When Richarlison was out wide, he was much less effective. And he's our best player.
Kean as a reserve striker is the best way forward.
We have Gordon and Adeniran also who can offer something for the wide right position.
Bernard and Iwobi for now on the left. Hopefully we can upgrade on those.
Central midfield is the weakest part, 4-4-2 will call for 2 solid box-to-boxers.
53 Posted 01/06/2020 at 09:58:01
Before the lockdown that is what DCL was becoming, one of the best in the league as a centre forward. Tough and athletic, learning from Duncan how to physically legally fight and shape his body against defenders , achieving it better than the big man did is a credit to them both.
He has worked on and recently added the predator reputation to his repertoire. It was the missing link.
Because his predatory instincts are not completely natural he will need to continually work on it to get better.
Theres only one way DCL will not get to the very top and that is if he take his foot off the gas and starts to wallow in the adulation and hype. His whole game is built on hard work, supreme physicality and an indefatigable attitude which is second to none at the club. If he concentrates on nurturing those attributes as a sacrosanct requirement and keeps working on his finishing he will continue to improve.
It is fair to say Richarlison is massively influential in his upturn in goal scoring form. The two of them working as a team are as a dynamic unit offering physicality, skill, youth and pace is just too much for most defences to handle. They are a pairing that is proving to be more than the sum of their parts. All of the best strike partnerships were. The result is single game since they were paired as a combination I believe, and 100% expect, one of them to score.
54 Posted 01/06/2020 at 10:02:02
E.g. he won't be bulking up, his ball control and power in his shot won't change too much.
He's actually very fast, and given his physique, it's likely that this can stay.
I think Graeme Sharp became a player on another level, when he learnt how to jumped early, making him dominate the air against defenders, who had to guess more often how to time their jumps etc.
I think DCL can improve in the way he kills the ball when it first comes to him e.g. swivel and connect, stab at the ball, rather than having to control it before shooting etc.
55 Posted 01/06/2020 at 10:17:33
Some posters know little of human nature. They think being articulate and intelligent off the pitch precludes a player from having the 'nastyness' to do what it takes on it.
Martin Berry @1 sheds light on the player we have. Most other teams would bite our hands off to have DCL in their squads.
56 Posted 01/06/2020 at 10:18:10
Watching him, though, it still bugs me. He often seems to scuff the ball instead of hitting it cleanly, That little bit of unconventional play in a striker now seems to work in his favour as goalies can be unsure just where the ball is going. Or it can work against as so many shots sail wide.
Still a work in progress.
57 Posted 01/06/2020 at 10:20:37
58 Posted 01/06/2020 at 11:25:20
59 Posted 01/06/2020 at 13:05:44
Funny reading here that he has to be tougher and meaner, when what was first obvious about him was his relentless physicality and toughness.
And Harry Kane's a nasty bastard just like any number of his Spurs teammates.
60 Posted 01/06/2020 at 13:32:30
Don't get me wrong, I like Richarlison up front. I think its his best position. But he's very good on the right as well; he works hard and makes alot of recoveries plus he still manages to get alot of goals. I can't shake the feeling that with our current squad we may get more goals in the team by playing him on the right; given that Gordon and Adeniran are not yet at the standard required.
61 Posted 01/06/2020 at 19:00:21
62 Posted 01/06/2020 at 20:42:23
I'm not saying I'm right but using your argument it's my opinion. Just because you are a club legend, it doesn't make you a legend.
63 Posted 01/06/2020 at 23:39:24
I so wish Brands could show that sort of judgement instead of squandering vast fortunes on players who simply are not good enough.
That summarises why I don't believe Brands can be called a success yet. Did he not have a shortlist at PSV that was based around young, reasonably priced talent with the potential to massively improve? I thought that is what he had made his name from.
At Everton, he looks like a kid in a sweet shop. I hope the signing of Branthwaite marks a turn in his spending philosophies.
64 Posted 02/06/2020 at 04:37:48
If he played as a lone striker, he would score goals if he had quality midfield players supplying him. Since he became a regular he has never played with one top central midfield player because we don't have any.
If Carlo can get us some quality in the middle of the park, then our £1.5 million striker will get even better.
65 Posted 02/06/2020 at 07:14:22
66 Posted 02/06/2020 at 07:24:03
To my mind, he needs to have a supporting player up there with him to get his best. He's not like Kane, the current best of his generation in his position. Kane makes things happen. He makes his own goals fairly often. That can change, but that is his limitation at present. And he is young enough to change that.
There are not enough players across the squad that have that characteristic. Richarlison is the only one really.
Our midfield is dire on goal contribution. Koeman recognised this early on and spoke a lot about signing players to increase productivity. His signings were not good enough but the idea was right.
67 Posted 02/06/2020 at 08:51:11
I guess he initially concluded (probably rightly) that we needed some first-team-ready players as an interim step (eg, Gomes, Digne and Mina from Barca). However, having done this, I can't see the point of padding the squad out with more uninspiring (but expensive) players like Iwobi. I'd rather put up with Walcott knowing that we have someone with absolute star potential coming through – players like Ihattaren, Hlozek and Szoboszlai (and players that you can't find just from a quick hunt around the advanced search function of transfermarkt.com).
From the decent(-ish) base we now have, we will only improve with the odd absolute top signing – with the rest of our pennies being spent on star potential.
68 Posted 02/06/2020 at 12:33:00
I think he needs to improve dramatically just to be classed as a failure.
69 Posted 02/06/2020 at 12:49:21
For a start, the squad has been so bloated by the constant overspending with no seeming plan. I think he's been desperate to shift players and that has not proved easy to do. There is no point buying young players like that if they do not have the pathways to playing time; someone like Kean, for example, has barely played.
Brands even said this with Ihatteren: “Frankly, I'd like to have him with Everton tomorrow, he's so good,” he said. “But I do not think that's the path he should take. He will need an intermediate step later. In that respect, Mo is good at PSV."
The wage bill and squad size is too big. The overhaul is only halfway through and will not be finished till the likes of Besic, Sandro, Bolasie etc have gone. In the meantime, he still has to try and give the managers what they wanted; someone like Iwobi I'm guessing was brought in because Silva wanted someone creative to get the ball into the box more. Iwobi does this very well even though he's not shined yet at Everton.
It's a tough balancing act but I think once we have trimmed the squad and the wage bill we will hopefully see more of the younger talent that Brands has a reputation for finding.
70 Posted 02/06/2020 at 13:27:59
How can you tell, Darren? If you look at Gomes, Gbamin, Delph and Mina, they all love the treatment table and it really was incomprehensible in bringing in so many players with chequered injury records, especially as the first three are in the one area which is the most crucial for providing the nucleus and continuity of performance from your team.
"I think he needs to improve dramatically just to be classified as a failure."
At first, it appears overly derogatory and harsh... but we thought Walsh was the lowest ebb because he was totally incompetent and brought so much shit to the club. With Brands, we are assuming these players are shit because very few are at their peak to perform and his only real shining light was a Marco Silva purchase.
I worry that, after another summer of Brands signings, we might need to invest in a stonking new treatment facility to accommodate the walking wounded.
71 Posted 02/06/2020 at 14:09:44
Gbamin averaged 31 games per season over the last 6 years in the Bundesliga and French Ligue 1 and 2. None of these three players 'have chequered injury records' and you can't blame Brands for what has happened to them.
Fair point on Delph though! My guess is that Brands thought he was buying experience and leadership like Milner, when in reality he was buying a gobby sick note.
72 Posted 02/06/2020 at 14:18:11
Brands buys peripheral players. We need solid ones.
73 Posted 02/06/2020 at 18:09:20
It's only at Valencia he managed over 30 league appearances and was consistently at peak fitness. Since then, he has been chasing fitness at Barca and with us and has never looked in top condition.
In Yerry's short career, he has been missing averaging 10 games a season with minor injuries and Delph speaks for himself. I do agree that Gbamin could be viewed as unlucky and perhaps I was harsh in attributing that to Brands but it is frustrating at how most of the team we put out are from the Walsh era and before.
74 Posted 03/06/2020 at 01:13:42
One thing is for sure... we don't have enough quality on the pitch or in-depth to challenge for silverware next season, our last game against Chelsea proved that.
I would not be surprised to see Carlo walk away.
75 Posted 03/06/2020 at 11:18:57
Calvert-Lewin is a complete package. He and Richarlison run so much to press and defend. Kean, in terms of physique is probably even stronger, but is nowhere in terms of work rate. He may not be a prolific striker who scores 20+ goals but he offers more.
76 Posted 03/06/2020 at 11:42:26
The numbers also showed where he had his flaw, and he speaks about it himself in the article above. He didn't get enough goalscoring opportunities. He wasn't often in the right place at the right time. That's something he has clearly worked on and as a result the goals have come. I don't think that ability is quite the “natural” ability some make it out to be and it can be learnt and comes with experience. Sure, you get some like Robbie Fowler or Tony Cottee who make it look effortless.
The game has changed in recent years, and whilst Dom wouldn't have been a powerhouse in the days of Big Dunc's prime, he is now. Defenders tend to be a bit leaner to be able to keep up with the speed of the modern striker, so Calvert-Lewin has the power to challenge the modern centre-back and few (eg Troy Deeney) have more physical prowess.
But Calvert-Lewin also has speed to burn. That always set him aside for me. The rare combination of pace and power, coupled with his heading ability, always made him a very useful squad player. Once the goals inevitably came, he turned into the striker many on here predicted he would be.
I just hope he can quickly recover his form. One thing for sure, as his Instagram followers will know, it won't be for a lack of effort.
77 Posted 03/06/2020 at 12:03:44
Since Kanchelskis smashed in 16 league goals in 1996 only the following have scored more than Dominic's current 13 league goals:
Lukaku in 2017 with 25
Lukaku in 2016 with 18
Lukaku in 2014 with 15
Yakubu in 2008 with 15
Now Dom is on 13 from 27 games. If he carries on his 1 in 2 ratio, that's 17 goals which very few Everton players have ever managed in the last 40 years, just Lukaku (twice), Lineker, Sharp (just once), Latchford (a few times) and all the way back to Royle's best season.
The reality is our top scorer rarely beats 15 (even in a good season) and Dom is almost there. If he does and he repeats it next season, then he's joining esteemed company.
78 Posted 03/06/2020 at 12:38:08
I think that shows up how we have had very few top goal scorers at Everton over the years.
79 Posted 03/06/2020 at 13:00:17
I think you might be surprised if you think Bob scored 17 a few times in one season for the Toffees.
He scored the 30 and 17 or maybe 19 in another season but those two season were the best he had for scoring in seven seasons with Everton.
80 Posted 03/06/2020 at 13:27:45
According to the link Bob's league goalscoring record reads as follows:
1984/1985 Coventry 12 2
1982/1983 Swansea 38 20
1981/1982 Swansea 31 12
1980/1981 Everton FC 19 6
1979/1980 Everton FC 26 6
1978/1979 Everton FC 36 11
1977/1978 Everton FC 39 30
1976/1977 Everton FC 36 17
1975/1976 Everton FC 32 12
1974/1975 Everton FC 36 17
1973/1974 Everton FC 13 7
1973/1974 Birm City 24 10
1972/1973 Birm City 42 19
81 Posted 03/06/2020 at 14:54:29
There are different types of goal scorers:
The Bold Buccaneers, I'll mention some you're probably unfamiliar with... Dave Hickson, Trevor Ford, Bobby Smith.
The Penalty Area Predators: Jimmy Greaves, Denis Law, and Johnny Byrne.
All of them had one thing in common, the natural ability to be in the right place at the right time.
I must admit that I had reservations regarding Dominic Calvert-Lewin because he spent too much time out of the danger zone but, on reflection, it would appear that he was acting under instructions, and it didn't do him any favours by making him the lone striker. I still stand by my belief that without natural ability you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
82 Posted 03/06/2020 at 19:44:07
I would imagine Gerd Muller would slot straight in with your penalty area predators, Greaves, Law and Byrne. For me he was the deadliest of them all.
I'd be interested to know where you would rank the German in an all-time list of penalty area predators ?
83 Posted 03/06/2020 at 23:22:02
84 Posted 04/06/2020 at 01:42:47
John McFarlane, I was on about the “natural goalscoring ability”, the right place, right time thing. As I pointed out one of the best I have seen was Robbie Fowler, who made it seem effortless. I believe you can gain this with experience.
Now Im not talking any old amateur, Im talking about a player who was clearly an elite youth player (scoring the World Cup winning goal, no less). And I always thought that he would get better at it as he got experience.
13 goals is a decent haul. I expect him to pass 15 league goals and that is not something Everton strikers do often. If Dom is able to pass the 15 mark repeatedly for us, then he will be doing just fine.
85 Posted 04/06/2020 at 01:57:37
86 Posted 04/06/2020 at 08:04:32
I only wish I'd seen him in the flesh, he's the best finisher I've seen.
87 Posted 04/06/2020 at 10:15:00
Gerd Muller was a great goalscorer/ poacher worth his weight in gold for Germany but Id swop the brilliance of Ferenc Puskas of Hungary, his all round game and 83 goals in 84 games for his country plus many more for his adopted country Spain.
Again Jimmy Greaves was a marvellous goalscorer for every team he played for including England and the best goalscorer I ever saw, but Id swop Dennis Laws around game in preference to Jimmy, Dennis was no mean scorer himself not including the six he scored for Man. City v Luton in a cup game which were wiped off the record after the game was abandoned with City 6-2 up, he also scored when the game was replayed but was on the losing side as City lost 3-1.
Steve was right to mention Robbie Fowler an excellent goalscorer and he nearly always hit the goal target even when he didnt score, he was one of four Liverpool players who frequently hit the net, the energetic team player and scorer Roger Hunt, add the Welshman who always scored against us and every other team Ian Rush plus, when he was young and before he was plagued by injury Michael Owen.
Going way back Jack Rowley, who scored against us for Man. Unt. in the famous cup tie when Dave Hickson scored his famous winner, was a great goalscorer but was over shadowed by his less famous brother Arthur Rowley of Leicester City who I believe is, or was, the highest English league goalscorer of all time.
88 Posted 04/06/2020 at 10:23:56
You will notice that I mentioned players being in the 'right place at the right time'. It's my opinion that this applies to every player from goalkeeper to, what used to be, outside left. It's also my opinion that these characteristics are instinctive, and sometimes players from goalkeeper to outside left make mistakes of judgement which lead to a goal being scored or conceded.
It's not like Chess, a game I've never attempted to play, where you appear to get an eternity to make your move. At the risk of boring you, I believe that football, like life in general, is instinctive: you're sometimes right and oft-times wrong.
89 Posted 04/06/2020 at 10:31:02
1. How few quality strikers weve had in the last 25 years
2. How average we've been in the last 25 years
3. How far away we really are from challenging
By some very crude research I think we need at least an extra 20 goals per season to get into top 6 (or with luck top 4) at the same time as returning to our recent defensive best.
DCL and Richarlison will have to keep up and possibly beat their current good form we also need AN other to chip in with a decent goal haul. That might mean rehabilitated Sigurdsson, a breakthrough for Kean, a season of headers from Mina and / or a right winger who scores goals (eg, Neres, Malcom or Lozano).
90 Posted 04/06/2020 at 11:14:18
Do you know how many times we've had strikers hit 15 league goals since Lineker? 7 times in 33 seasons!!!
If you take Lukaku out of the equation, it's 4 times in 29 seasons.
We've only had Lukaku (3), Yakubu (1), Kanchelskis (1), Cottee (1) and Beardsley (1) do it during this time.
I'd say if Calvert-Lewin can consistently hit 15 league goals a season, he'd be one of our most lethal strikers ever.
91 Posted 04/06/2020 at 14:59:57
92 Posted 04/06/2020 at 15:55:07
I have to side with you. If goalscoring could be coached, there wouldn't be a litany of players that couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo.
All the top goalscorers down the years have an instinctive knack of being in the right place at the right time.
93 Posted 04/06/2020 at 16:38:06
Müller, Greaves, Lineker, Agüero, Latchford, Owen spring to mind. These are the guys who seem to know one step in advance what was going to happen, know when to time their run, take the chance first touch, where necessary etc. Strangely, in their own way, all quite limited all round footballers, but deadly in front of goal. Occasionally, there are players who have instinct and are truly great footballers as well such as Pele, Rush, Messi, Ronaldo, Law.
Calvert-Lewin falls into the great footballer, decent striker in my opinion, as was that other player he reminds me of – Sharpe. I'd never describe him as a "predator" but, in a strange way, he can be instinctive with his head – but certainly not with his feet.
Until he starts putting away some routine chances, learns how to strike the ball crisply and powerfully, and more often than not beats the keeper in one-on-ones, he'll not resemble a striker of the highest order, in my eyes.
Can he learn? Yes, he's certainly intelligent enough but I'm not certain he's got that inner ability. I really hope that he proves me wrong! That said, he's a top player, top bloke and worth his weight in gold.
94 Posted 04/06/2020 at 17:34:36
Ray #93, I'd say Calvert-Lewin has already made significant progress in that area. He anticipates, and moves early, a lot better now than he did a year ago, and it has shown up in his goal totals. He may never be a top-level goalscorer, but he is certainly learning his trade skills well.
95 Posted 06/06/2020 at 12:56:06
I did see a lot of Muller though and, while I'm more than happy to take Dave A's word that Puskas was the better all-round player, I think "Der Bomber" was an all-time great in his own right. He just didn't seem to miss.
I watched "The Big Match" this morning on ITV3. It was a re-run of Spurs vs Everton 1976 at WHL. What a treat. I was actually at the game. I remember we were two down and I knew that "The Latch" made it 3-3 with a few seconds to go, but I had absolutely no recollection of the goal. I must have missed it for some reason. I was delighted to finally see it – it was a beauty. Fabulous run and finish by Latchford.
96 Posted 06/06/2020 at 13:29:48
97 Posted 06/06/2020 at 13:43:14
101 Posted 12/06/2020 at 18:39:02
But any forward without the right service / partner is going to struggle. He is at the end of a long delivery mechanism. You could have had Pele and Cruyff in front of Koeman's Everton team and they wouldn't have scored a single goal.
The Calvert-Lewin Richarlison combination looks as though it might be just that, since they play very effectively together.
If we imagine the pair of them running about in front of an intelligent reasonably quick midfield, and one which itself poses a threat and so takes even more attention off the front two, then we could finally start to see a decent Everton team, the likes of which has not existed in getting on for 40 years.
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