These are heady times indeed for youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Just a year ago, no Everton fan bar a handful had even heard of the forward despite him having played for the England Under-20s. He then became the Toffee’s first signing of an eventually underwhelming August 2016 Deadline Day, and immediately disappeared into David Unsworth’s Under-23 side.
Fast forward a few months and he had established himself in the youth team enough that the Blues felt it worthwhile to give him a new five-year deal. Calvert-Lewin led the line as first the Under-23s won the Premier League 2 title and then weeks later he fired the winning goal as the Young Lions lifted the Under-20 World Cup for the first time ever over the summer.
Now as we approach his first anniversary at the club, the 20-year-old is being hailed as a starlet in the side and is deserving of all the accolades he is receiving.
Manager Ronald Koeman has been a firm believer in the youngster’s abilities throughout, and it’s only now we’re seeing why the Blues haven’t been as aggressive as we had hoped with chasing a center forward.
The Dutchman really wants Calvert-Lewin on the pitch, in whatever role. That has gone to the extent of using him out wide during the preseason and even as a wing back in the Premier League opener last weekend!
In that game against Stoke City, while he was a peripheral figure for most of the game, his eye for space got him open and he sent over a wonderful lofted cross for Wayne Rooney’s winner.
And then yesterday at the Etihad he was an absolute nightmare for the plodding Manchester City backline with his running, and his superb lay-off for Rooney to finish with aplomb almost was another winner.
Here’s what Koeman had to say about the player yesterday -
“Dominic did well. He ran a lot and made it really difficult for the defenders of City who have pace in front. It makes for a good game.”
Rooney has been gushing about his teammate as well -
“We just wanted to frustrate them. We know they’ve got quality players and can move the ball quickly. We knew if we could frustrate them, we could create chances on the break.
“Dominic Calvert-Lewin was fantastic for us, held the ball up and brought players in. For a young lad he’s done really well.”
Michael Keane, who has been a rock in defence so far, was equally complimentary of the youngster’s performance -
“I thought Dominic was outstanding. Their centre-halves didn’t know how to deal with him. He’s good in the air, [with] his hold-up play. I thought he was brilliant tonight and a credit to us.
“I think that’s where Dom prefers playing. He’s put in a few shifts out wide and even wing-back so he’s a good utility player but in his main position he causes a lot of trouble and he’s not someone you want to come up against.
“He has been learning from Wayne. He’s one of the best players in the world so for people like Dom they can learn a lot from him. To play up front with someone like him can only benefit him.”
Make no mistake, Calvert-Lewin is not ready to lead the line for a team contending for the top six in the Premier League and Everton could still use a starting calibre striker there, but we agree with Koeman that the youngster is doing well and should continue to get as much playing time as he can.