07/08/2023 54comments  |  Jump to last

Dominic Calvert-Lewin believes he has turned the corner in his struggle for consistent fitness, saying that he can get back to action with the confidence that he won't break down again following a summer of patient rehabilitation and fitness work.

The 26-year-old has endured two stop-start years that have restricted him to 30 Premier League starts over the past couple of seasons and robbed Everton of their only reliable goalscorer while the club has failed to recruit  adequate cover for his position.

The Blues' nominal striker's scored a paltry three goals between them last term but if Calvert-Lewin's outlook for 2023-24 is vindicated, manager Sean Dyche can look forward to calling on the one-time England international on a regular basis this season.

Calvert-Lewin revealed to the media the psychological toll that constantly battling to stay fit exacts but he also stated his confidence that the worst was behind him.

"I am well aware of my responsibility and the role I play at this football club, how important I am when I am playing, sometimes that has fed into at times me rushing back and being a bit naive and immature, but I am 26 now," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I know my body a lot more, and I know what works for my body, and the main priority for me is performing consistently for 90-minutes each week."

"When you can't physically ... perform on a regular basis, it is the most frustrating thing in the world," he said on BBC Radio Merseyside. "It's a mental battle when you are getting injured all the time. When you are on the pitch you are probably not fully committing as you feel something might go wrong.

"I am over that now and in a good space of mind to go and attack the season.

"It's been a vicious cycle of rushing back, with an expectation on me to be back and not being allowed time to get 100% fit.

"The manager came in and said, 'You're not coming back until you are fully fit'. When I come back, I am not a passenger, I have a job to do leading the line.

"He has shown patience, deflecting all attention that is always put on me about 'when he's back?'. He took that load off me.

"It was almost like factory reset when the season finished. It was like, 'What can we do differently, what's going wrong?'"

Dyche committed earlier this year to examine every aspect of Calvert-Lewin's life — from his mattress to the car he drives — in a bid to get to the root of his injury struggles and while it looked as though he and the club's medical staff had resolved a good deal of the issues by late in the season, the former Sheffield United man suffered yet another set-back in the penultimate game of the 2022-23 campaign.

A fitness programme over the summer that has included yoga has targeted his overall mobility and a visit to a pioneering neuro training centre in Germany now has him close to full readiness, with DCL himself raring to go.

Dyche cast doubt on the player being in the line-up to face Fulham, however, when Everton kick off the new season on Saturday. More likely, Calvert-Lewin will be named among the substitutes, hopefully able to get some minutes off the bench.

"I have been on the grass since June 26, so before any of the lads were in, and I was working my way through the off season as well, just to make sure there is not another repeat of last season, basically," Calvert-Lewin continued.

"Everyone knows how frustrating it was all round and for me personally, and it was just important that I made the right steps to ensure I am fit to start the season against Fulham, which I am."


Reader Comments (54)

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Si Pulford
1 Posted 07/08/2023 at 20:19:15
Good luck to him. It's not his fault he's injured. Fingers crossed he has a great season and reminds everyone how important he is to us.
Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 07/08/2023 at 20:35:24
I never watched any of Saturday's game but I saw the interview that Calvert-Lewin gave after the game and he looked a lot leaner than he has looked for a very long time.

Dyche is managing him very sensibly, but with us being very scarce on talented forwards, I don't think our manager has got any other option really.

I personally think that Dominic splits a lot of the fan base, but my own opinion is that Everton are a better and also a much more effective team when Calvert-Lewin is leading the line.

Jay Evans
3 Posted 07/08/2023 at 20:37:28
Tony Everan
4 Posted 07/08/2023 at 21:12:41
Massive news for the club that his fitness looks like it's the real deal this time. Still he will need managing properly this season to get the best out him whilst minimising the chance of any setbacks. I can see Chermiti taking up the slack in most games any time after the hour mark.

It's clear to see we are a different team with Dom playing up front. The whole team functions better, him winning possession allows the team settle and look more organised in their approach. He changes the dynamic.

There were hints last season that he has added more maturity and creativity into his play. Particularly against Brighton when he put in a quality centre-forward performance. With a run of games and full match fitness we would be in dreamland if that type of performance became the norm, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't.

It's ironic that we bought McNeil to feed him with crosses last season but he was out injured. Now he's back and guess what. Hopefully he will be back soon and they'll forge an understanding together. It wouldn't surprise me to see Garner put some great crosses into him too, starting on Saturday.

Regardless of any of this, the necessity of having a back-up striker hasn't gone away.

Mike Hayes
5 Posted 07/08/2023 at 21:17:47
Fingers crossed he's at least on the bench Saturday – showing his determination to get back to playing football by coming back to get match fit.

Understandable that playing when not 100% fit you would be thinking this injury could reoccur – we need to hit the ground running against Fulham, we don't want to be struggling at the bottom end again.

Get a back-up striker in and get shut of Kenwright and Moshiri once and for all or this club will die with those two clowns in charge. UTFT

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 07/08/2023 at 21:43:51
Let's hope this Factory Reset means Dom no longer has to repeatedly click the Recovery icon and can remain Powered Up.

But I'd still like to see us download a Window Update this week.

Mal van Schaick
7 Posted 07/08/2023 at 21:55:32
The problem with the factory reset button is that you lose information that you have stored, meaning that you have to start all over again. Everton cannot afford to wait for their main striker to re-learn or remember what he should be doing in his striker's role.

Good luck, but try and hit the ground running when you do recover, we cannot continue in the Premier League without a recognised goal scorer.

Christy Ring
8 Posted 07/08/2023 at 21:56:32
Tony #2, I couldn't agree more.

Let's be honest: when Benitez played him with a broken toe, everything escalated from then.

I hope he's back fresh and like a new signing. He doesn't deserve all the criticism, and we're a different team with Dom up top.

Oliver Molloy
9 Posted 07/08/2023 at 22:17:30
If he can get going like a few seasons back that will surely be a positive all round. Time will tell and good luck to him.
Christy Ring
10 Posted 07/08/2023 at 22:41:40
Just wondering, can someone tell me why Richard 'Frodo Baggins' Keys, Andy Gray's puppet, is so anti-Everton?
Peter Moore
11 Posted 07/08/2023 at 22:55:00
Good luck to Dom, his efforts to get right sound spot on. He seems to be doing all he can and I obviously hope his injury curse has lifted.

Having another viable striker will certainly ease the load on him and ease the load of worry on all of us too.


Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 07/08/2023 at 23:29:25
Best of luck, Dominic, and good health, I think most of us will feel better once you are back and firing on all cylinders.
Ben King
13 Posted 07/08/2023 at 23:45:25
Fingers crossed it's the real deal this time.

Also, fingers crossed we get 1 or 2 more forwards in and 1 or 2 wingers in to ease the burden and pressure on him.

Don Alexander
14 Posted 08/08/2023 at 00:40:42
It was plain to most people in football just three or four seasons ago that even whilst having to endure very limited supply from the players selected by our very own "Bert & Ernie" (Muppet idiots if you need to know) football experts (and, no, I don't believe any of our fabulously well-paid DoFs have ever been allowed to function even close to a DoF role by B or E, singly or together) our Dominic had real talent as a centre-forward.

He reminds me of Graeme Sharp the player, in Sharp's brief pomp. He scores enough goals and occupies defenders plural to make him a real worry to the opposition, albeit Sharp had quality goal-scorers all round him who profited from his work, unlike Calvert-Lewin.

No, he doesn't yet have a history of scoring an occasional screamer but, if he can achieve full fitness, pace, and aggression, I suspect we'll do well to hold on to him in the next two seasons.

Mark Andersson
15 Posted 08/08/2023 at 02:16:10
I have a bad feeling about Dom.

Once again, the idiots who run the club have not secured an adequate back-up striker, so another relegation scrap is more likely than a hopefully mid-table finish.

Good luck, Dom, you deserve that.

Jerome Shields
16 Posted 08/08/2023 at 04:35:45
Good Luck to Dom this season. I would have preferred a back-up striker to take the pressure off Dom. But it has looked early on that Everton were going to depend on him.

The new young Striker may be helpful, but he is still an unknown.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 08/08/2023 at 06:15:10
You make a good point Don.

A striker is as good as the supply and support. I watched Sharp as a teenager every week.

To use a more recent example, it was telling towards the end of last season when Doucoure was busting a gut to get in the box. The first goal against Brighton away sums it up for me. He had support and something to aim for.

Dominic, like most Everton strikers of late, often cuts an isolated figure.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 08/08/2023 at 07:01:03
I want to be wrong here but it's hard to see his body being able to cope now with the demands of weekly football in the Premier League.

If he plays 15 games this season it's a bonus for him.

Much like I said this time last year, it's not about getting him on the pitch, but keeping him on it, that's the hardest part.

Also why I said 12 months ago that we needed a first-choice replacement and then it was up to Dom to fight when fit to win back his place as Number 9.

This is all on the football club as per usual.

Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 08/08/2023 at 07:19:34
Jim, it was the same with Rodriguez.

In today's game, we don't need players who play 90-plus minutes of every game. But to support that, we need depth in numbers in terms of the squad.

There lies our problem. Not just the past two seasons, for years now, we've been relying on a core of about 14 players.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 08/08/2023 at 07:43:06
Good news. It sounds like Dyche is the first manager to deal with his injury problems sensibly and take some pressure off him. Let's hope that this approach bears fruit.

Hard not to be a little sceptical or doubtful but a fully fit Calvert-Lewin will probably manage 10-15 goals this season and will have Chermiti and hopefully one other to give him a rest when needed.

Daka was mooted as a possibility last night. Not my favourite choice but rapid and a different profile to Calvert-Lewin and Chermiti.

Certainly a fit Calvert-Lewin plus Chermiti plus Daka would be a big upgrade on an unfit Calvert-Lewin plus Maupay plus Simms.

Michael Lynch
21 Posted 08/08/2023 at 07:49:16
Danny, good point. Our main problem, apart from yet again not signing a striker and starting the season with Maupay up front, is a complete lack of strength in depth.

I can't find the stats showing how many subs were made by each team last season, but my guess is we'd be one of the lowest in the Premier League. We usually had several goalies on the bench, such was the weakness of our squad last season, and this season the squad looks even more threadbare.

Our players will have to be able to last 100 minutes, with the new guidance on extended injury time, because we have no options on the bench, or none that Dyche is willing to use, going by last season.

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 08/08/2023 at 07:52:47
Christy @10,

Richard Keys has been aware of how bad Moshiri, is for Everton for a long time now. It's all gone quiet on the MSP development.

Let's face it, until we get new owners, most Evertonians would bite your hand off for a 12th-place finish. Oh dear, what have we become?

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 08/08/2023 at 08:10:24
Barry Rathbone asks on the other Calvert-Lewin thread about things like Calvert-Lewin's training regime, diet and lifestyle could be contributory factors for his injuries.

When Sean Dyche first came in, wasn't one of the first things he did was look at the bed that Calvert-Lewinsleeps in, and immediately changed it to one that suits his body better?

Having the right bed can be very important for things like spinal support, and having a dodgy back can sometimes lead to weakness in other parts of the body, mainly your legs.

I seem to remember Michael Owen suffering with continuous hamstring injuries, simply because of having a bad back.

Niall McIlhone
24 Posted 08/08/2023 at 08:24:26
We will see a lot of damping down of expectations by the manager this season, including that of Calvert-Lewin's capacity to play regularly.

Dyche is necessarily being very cautious, he has both Calvert-Lewin and Dele Alli in different tracks of rehab towards match fitness, and he seems determined not to make the same mistakes of his predecessors.

My own abiding concern is how the club move away from the crippling record of long-term injuries which have beset the first-team squad for a very long time now. I am hopeful that Dyche and his backroom team will somehow begin to square this circle, and we will see players on the pitch who are match fit.

I would not rule out a move for Weghorst, who is seemingly unwanted by Burnley, but who is capable of effective hold-up play and would probably cost a moderate fee.

Dyche rates him, and he was, I gather, something of Stracqualursi-esque cult figure at Man Utd, showing good ability and a very strong work ethic. A season-long loan as back-up to Calvert-Lewin might be a good idea, whilst Chermiti adapts to English football.

Tony Everan
25 Posted 08/08/2023 at 08:45:11
Niall, it wouldn't surprise me either, it does seem like they are exploring the deals they can make happen. Antonio, Che Adams are regulars lately too. I expect Weghorst to resurface, maybe Iheanacho. This type of striker will definitely be signed, it's too important not to.

It's essential considering Calvert-Lewin's fitness is still unfortunately a gamble. It can't be construed any other way. If things don't go to plan, we will be without an experienced focal point striker until February.

Eddie Dunn
26 Posted 08/08/2023 at 08:47:35
Surely the club could have bought a run-of-the mill striker to lead the line when Calvert-Lewin was absent, and share the role throughout the season.

The likes of Adams or Ings, Weghorst or Moore for around £15 million is surely not too much to expect.

Mick O'Malley
27 Posted 08/08/2023 at 09:00:26
We are definitely a better team when he's on the pitch but one thing he isn't is a reliable goal scorer, we miss his ability to hold the ball up and his physicality but I still don't think he scores enough goals, anyway let's hope the lad can stay fit as I for one never want to see Maupay leading the line again.
Jim Bennings
28 Posted 08/08/2023 at 09:15:38
I hope he gets fit I really do but through no fault of his own due to injury, he's scored three league goals since August 2021.

There aren't any other clubs at either end of the Premier League that would not have long since looked at that return and realised action is immediately needed.

Brian Harrison
29 Posted 08/08/2023 at 10:01:06
Seems Calvert-Lewin and Dyche have differing views as to his fitness level.

Calvert-Lewin said, after the 45 minutes against Sporting, it had set him up to start against Fulham. Yet Dyche reckons he hasn't completed all the fitness that Dyche says will mean he won't start against Fulham.

Dyche also went on to say Dele Alli is miles off being ready to be considered, yet supposedly he was first back into training, so did he just turn up and do nothing, or is he still recovering from injury? I have no idea.

We sign a young striker from Sporting for between €15-20 million but the kid has only played 16 games. Now given that we have very little to spend, is he that much better than Cannon, who we are prepared to send on loan again?

Also, there are reports that we may bring in a couple more players before the window closes, but I thought the big idea was to make us the fittest team in the Premier League. But how do you achieve that if you sign players who won't have been put through the rigorous fitness regime the rest of the squad have been put through?

Matt Hayhurst
30 Posted 08/08/2023 at 10:02:34
With Calvert-Lewin in the team, we are a mid-table team.
Without him, we will be battling relegation again.

However, we have had many false dawns re Calvert-Lewin over the past few years, so I will believe it when I see it.

Niall McIlhone
31 Posted 08/08/2023 at 10:28:17
Tony #25,

Yes, several other realistic options are out there, there's also Alcaraz, who Southampton may sell, however, I feel Weghorst has three or four attributes which make him a good fit as a potential Calvert-Lewin fill in:

1) He has Premier League experience and a decent fitness record.

2) He won't cost much, and a loan arrangement might be acceptable to Burnley.

3) Weghorst will know what is expected of him under the Dyche system and one would expect him to settle in quickly.

4) He probably would not need to relocate his family, as he is already based in the North West.

So, being realistic, it's Wout for me. I think the fans would take to him, too.

Pat Kelly
32 Posted 08/08/2023 at 10:30:30
If your car didn't start as often as Calvert-Lewin, what would you do? Cross your fingers and hope it starts, then watch it break down again. This is the Premier League, not a breaker's yard which is where we're headed unless we trade up to something reliable.
Andy Crooks
33 Posted 08/08/2023 at 11:07:56
Rob @22, I know a thing or two about bad backs and your post is spot on.
Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 08/08/2023 at 11:08:52
If Dominic starts or features on Saturday and scores the winner, we'll be singing his praises.

See you there. Or hear you from afar.

We are going into this season fighting. If we have to do it on our own again, then we will.

Our Everton. Not their's.

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 08/08/2023 at 11:15:04
I personally don't think this new kid from Sporting is ready, whilst Maupay has never been ready.

I was going to blame Kenwright and Moshiri like I always do, but then I thought about it and realized that wouldn't be quite right because the self-appointed Chairman and his exasperated owner only appear to be minding their own fucking business.

Tony Everan
36 Posted 08/08/2023 at 11:29:57
Tony, he's going to have to have balls of steel. He will have to get used to the physicality of the league, he will get clattered into every 5 minutes, no time on the ball along with the constant expectation of working hard without the ball. Basically all the things that Calvert-Lewin did when he was a 20-year-old.

He's going to have to learn to deal with it, and have the in-built determination to fight back harder and come out on top. It's one thing having the height and some technical ability, it's another having the never say die mentality to succeed in the Premier League.

I'll be watching to see how he deals with the rough part of the game, seeing if he is up for the fight or not.

Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 08/08/2023 at 11:31:19
They have lost us, Tony. Just about every single one of us. How either of them can ever set foot inside Goodison again is lost on me. They can't and won't ever be welcomed.

You know I will travel up and down the country to watch that team. And I will.

I will do on Saturday.

Meanwhile, there will be vacant seats in the Directors' box and continued a lack of communication whilst genuine supporters can't get in because we are sold out. Give your seats to supporters.

Total disconnection from the most loyal and passionate support base in English football. Total disregard and disrespect.

There was a WW1 phrase about Lions led by Donkeys.

I'd go one further. We appear to be led by ostriches with their head in the sand. Oblivious to what is going on around them.

When Saturday comes. It's about the team. I can't wait. They can do what they have done for the last 18 months and leave us to it. Abandoned, but we will get on with it.

They are not taking my or our Everton away from me or us. They never will.

Apologies, it's getting closer to matchday and the adrenaline is starting to flow.

Brian Harrison
38 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:15:30
Danny 37,

As I often do, I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. Heading towards 70 years of going to Goodison, and I can't ever remember a time when I was less looking forward to the new season, but for some reason I just don't have that feeling.

Maybe it's an age thing, maybe consecutive relegations battles have something to do with it. Maybe because of this owner and Chairman, I have never felt so disconnected to my football club. Hopefully come Saturday and sitting in my seat in the Upper Bullens, all the old feelings will come flooding back.

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:26:04
I hope so Brian and hope to see a few of you around the ground.

I've just read, over 98% season ticket retention.

Unbelievable. They don't deserve us. But they are ours, not theirs.

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:37:31
The sore point for me is that Kenwright was allowed to not only get his measly paws into Everton but he was allowed to split the fan base with his unadulterated lies.

I feel sick when I think about what the man has done to our club, and am just very thankful that the people involved in KEIOC never put their heads in the sand.

People like Bill Kenwright love ostriches, and this is evident by the empty seats which remained unoccupied whilst Everton were fighting for their lives to stay in the top division.

Even ostriches have shame – but I doubt Bill Kenwright's ignorance has ever allowed him to have such feelings, Danny?

Lee Courtliff
41 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:39:43
Weghorst is going to Hoffenhiem on loan for the season.
Jim Bennings
42 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:42:22
Don't know if there's any truth in it whatsoever but I'm reading that young Yousef Chermiti has failed to travel to Liverpool, lol.

Something does seem a bit suspect about the amount of time this deal is taking anyway. Alan Myers confirmed 7 days ago about a medical in the coming days… no idea what takes so long to arrange a medical?

Brian Williams
43 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:47:02
But if you'd rather be positive, Alan Myers said the medical went well with no issues.
Barry Hesketh
44 Posted 08/08/2023 at 12:59:18
Brian @37,

I don't think it's purely an age thing. I began to feel it was useless having great ambitions for Everton hen someone sat near me explained that, even if we had an extraordinary, very good season on the pitch, it would likely result in finishing 7th at best, and that was a couple of years prior to our recent relegation battles.

Mind you, I'd snap your hands off for a top-half finish this coming season.

Tony Everan
46 Posted 08/08/2023 at 20:11:56
El Bobble:

“James Tarkowski has recovered from his knock against Sporting on Saturday and is back in training ahead of Everton's fixture against Fulham.”

Excellent news.

Derek Cowell
47 Posted 09/08/2023 at 10:03:38
Barry at 44.

There were loads of blues complaining when Moyes had us finishing mainly 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th during most of his years. It was not good enough apparently. It was for me, given the competition and the money they had to spend. You just can't please some people.

Dennis Stevens
48 Posted 09/08/2023 at 11:50:21
Aye, Lee #41 - I saw that & wondered whether we were in for him. A season long loan sounds right up our street!
Ben King
49 Posted 09/08/2023 at 11:57:43
Dennis #48,

Well it sounds like we've missed the boat there.

Dennis Stevens
50 Posted 09/08/2023 at 14:20:04
No doubt there will be an even better player lined up, Ben #49.
Ray Roche
51 Posted 09/08/2023 at 14:54:07
According to the Bobble, there's no truth in it.
Kevin Molloy
52 Posted 09/08/2023 at 15:15:39
Jeez Louise, I remember how disbelieving I was when the January window came and went with no striker. Even I never imagined that, 6 months later, we would still be standing on the threshold of a new season (having defied the odds to stay up) still with no one to play up front. In fact, having even sold the teenage reservist. (I watched the Stoke game; Danjuma ain't a striker.)

And this is all after Dyche rang the bell loud and clear 3 months ago, saying 'This club is all over the place, it needs sorting'.

Even after all that, we've not had one fucking statement from the club commenting on any of it. You have to say, that Chairman we have is one cheeky bastard, he really is. I'm not buying the line 'Have patience, we have a plan and we're sticking to it'.

No, we should have got in someone to play up front. It should have been done weeks ago. It's an absolute farce.

Martin Farrington
53 Posted 09/08/2023 at 17:12:54
Tony @ 40 indeed so.
Martin Farrington
54 Posted 09/08/2023 at 17:18:44
I hope Calvert-Lewin is good to go. Dyche will not want to break him immediately the season starts, I guess. Good luck to the lad.

I think he will put Danjuma in. I really hope it won't be Maupay. With McNeil out, it will be a tough one. With no additional signings, we are gonna be relying on a weaker squad yet again.

Three keepers on the bench perhaps… 🤣

Chris Badley
55 Posted 09/08/2023 at 17:43:10
I honestly think some people have revelled in his injury woes and enjoy just piling in. He hasn't chosen to be injured and he's constantly ridiculed just because there's something different about him.

Prove 'em all wrong, Dom.

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