David Unsworth has spoken of his delight at the progress his former protégé, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, has made at Everton since signing for the club as a raw teenager four years ago.
The Blues signed the striker from Sheffield United for £1.5m as a longer-term prospect who was expected to spend time developing at Under-23 level but he soon found himself in then manager Ronald Koeman's senior setup.
Plenty of graft learning his trade in the interim as seen Calvert-Lewin emerge over the past 12 months as one of England's most potent and prolific strikers. He scored 10 goals under Duncan Ferguson's interim tenure and in the early weeks of the Carlo Ancelotti era before the coronavirus shutdown stalled his momentum.
He didn't score at all during “Project Restart”, but a couple of goals in pre-season were a precursor to the flood of goals that has helped propel Everton into the last eight of the Carabao Cup and to the top of the Premier League with 10 goals in eight games across those two competitions while also earning him an England call-up where he netted on his debut.
“I still smile, really, when you think about how we managed to prise him away from Sheffield United,” Unsworth told Alan Myers in an interview for Sky Sports. “It was all about timing. Sheffield United, at the time, were in League One and had a new manager and the thoughts of the manager at the time were that Dominic wasn't going to be playing a big part in trying to get them [promoted].
“I think Chris [Wilder] went the ‘experienced' route and he's been very successful so we managed to get Dom into our Under-23s at the time. He's a player I'd had experience coaching when I was at Sheffield United when [he was] a 16-/17-year-old and I'd always followed him so I was absolutely delighted to be able to bring him to [Everton].
“He was a fantastic signing for us and he is now producing the sorts of displays and playing as well as we could ever have imagined when he was a young player. He's outstanding and he's been a brilliant player for us.”
Myers was speaking with Unsworth about his new role as Everton's Academy Director, one he says was proposed by Director of Football, Marcel Brands, over the summer.
The 47-year-old has been building his CV at Finch Farm as manager of the Under-23s, in addition to two brief stints as caretaker boss of the first-team in 2016 and 2017, and has landed two Premier League 2 titles and a Premier League Cup.
“It's a massive role,” Unsworth explained, “and when you've got somebody like Marcel driving things from the top and you're working alongside one of the world's finest managers… to learn from them and work alongside them, to spread the messages that are coming from Carlo and Marcel, it's actually a really exciting time.
“A lot of academies strive for that working relationship, that pathway all the way through [the club] and that seamless flow of passing down the knowledge and the expectation of what it is to produce professional footballers.
“My personal relationship with Marcel and Carlo is outstanding and obviously I've played alongside and worked alongside Duncan Ferguson for a number of years so our relationship is good.
“So now it's a case of us now passing that [knowledge] down to [lower] levels of the Academy and the experience that we all have of working with young players and the expectations and demands and the outputs of what it takes for a young Premier League footballer to come through the system and what is required.
“[Everton] is always a fabulous place to work anyway but you've got a manager like Carlo Ancelotti… you know, sometimes I have to pinch myself when I'm talking to him and I'm standing alongside him thinking, ‘that's Carlo Ancelotti on the pitch!'
“It's brilliant that we were able to recruit someone of his class and when the club is winning games at first-team level, you're sat at the top of the league, all of a sudden, there are no problems, there are no issues — and long may that continue.”
Reader Comments (27)
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1 Posted 22/10/2020 at 09:17:03
2 Posted 22/10/2020 at 09:41:43
3 Posted 22/10/2020 at 10:56:59
4 Posted 22/10/2020 at 11:15:36
Happy to be proved wrong, looks like he belongs in the EPL and I think there are still areas he can improve and unlike some players, I think he has the capacity to do so because he looks like he's 'the right sort', a good temperament and attitude.
5 Posted 22/10/2020 at 11:37:57
He seemed not to have a good working relationship with either Deloufeu or Lookman, who scored a terrific goal for Fulham. I know it didn't work out for him at Leipzig but I still think he has a talent. With Ancelotti, Brands, Ferguson, Unsworth and now Baines we seem to have a group who are working closely together which can only be great for the club.
6 Posted 22/10/2020 at 11:46:21
There is a harmony forming in his play this season because of it. He has started to tap into that higher wavelength of performance which can come naturally . His energy is not dispersed so much, but more focussed on that central area and finishing. The outstanding midfield signings have allowed it to happen.
The Holy Grail now is to maintain that high level of performance with consistency over the season, as all top players do. He has the teammates to help him achieve it.
7 Posted 22/10/2020 at 12:46:04
Against our neighbours there was a moment where he threw himself for a ball he was clearly second favourite to win and I thought there's a guy who believes he's bigger and better than the defenders he's up against. He's ready to crack a few defenders and is backing himself. All of a sudden he's got a real presence about him.
One of those things that you can't really teach or train, but you know it when you see it.
8 Posted 22/10/2020 at 12:54:12
Already we are having many injuries after less than ten games played, again it astonished me why we didn't try to bring one of two more attacking options before the closing of the window.
No Richarlison, no Coleman, no James now so I'm thinking a point at best on Sunday.
9 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:15:25
Totally agree by the way about our lack of attacking options at senior level, should the inevitable injuries and suspensions kick in, just didn't think it would be this early in the campaign though!
10 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:27:34
11 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:27:51
My XI would be
Godfrey Mina Keane Nkounkou
Doucoure Allan Digne
Siggy Iwobi/Bernie/ Gordon
1-4 DCL hatrick & a Siggy Screamer.. Consolation for Ings following an another Picks Howler..
COYB..One game at a time
12 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:35:54
13 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:36:28
14 Posted 22/10/2020 at 13:48:04
It's all running his way at the moment but he still has some fundamental flaws and coping with the inevitable goal drought will be the acid test.
Doing very well though
15 Posted 22/10/2020 at 14:05:20
What's the difference between Dom and Boris? Dom listens to sage advice.
I am very sorry and won't darken these pages again.
16 Posted 22/10/2020 at 14:12:48
17 Posted 22/10/2020 at 14:18:26
18 Posted 22/10/2020 at 14:41:07
19 Posted 22/10/2020 at 14:42:48
I was pondering how to respond to those really profound posts.
20 Posted 22/10/2020 at 15:02:56
22 Posted 22/10/2020 at 19:22:07
23 Posted 22/10/2020 at 19:24:23
Hope all is well guys and girls.
24 Posted 23/10/2020 at 13:01:30
25 Posted 23/10/2020 at 16:47:18
26 Posted 24/10/2020 at 15:27:14
I pray the scoreline come to past but I will cherish 4 nill.
Good luck to the boys. COYB
27 Posted 24/10/2020 at 15:38:15
Yeah, 4 -0, why not?
28 Posted 24/10/2020 at 19:47:50
I see him becoming a finisher of real quality with his feet as well along with his heading ability.
He is still only 23 and has is unique in that there are few of his type about in football.
The sky is the limit for him as he comes across as totally focused in what he wants to achieve.
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