The young English forward from Sheffield has been impressing people since he came from the Blades, and the evolution continues at breakneck pace. The first goal of Everton’s new campaign, the winner and lone tally of the day against Tottenham Hotspur, was an absolutely perfectly headed ball by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A true “number nine’s goal”, as one commentator was quick to proclaim; he was quite correct in his analysis.
The whip of the ball from Frenchman Lucas Digne was excellent, but the flight and height of of DCL was stunning. It was a ball that for many Toffees is only scored by other teams, never your own. And yet on this day, it was ours, and it was the only one Everton would need. In a day of dominance by the newcomers of Goodison Park, it was a familiar face who won the day.
To win more days however, Calvert-Lewin will need to continue to improve with every match; it is surely as essential as any transfer acquisition for Everton.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin: A Mature Brilliance at just 23-years-old
The shape on Sunday might have caught some who expected a 4-4-2 off, but with a real midfield general in Allan, it likely shouldn’t have. Putting DCL as the only number nine against Tottenham was bold given his previous struggles as sole striker, but the coach’s trust was well rewarded by the headed effort. With Richarlison on the left wing and new signing James Rodriguez on the right, Everton were insistent on putting out as much of their talent on the attacking side of the pitch as possible.
It is telling that this lineup includes Calvert-Lewin as a starting number nine. He clearly has the respect of not only his coaches but his teammates as well. His maturity showed itself in his hold-up play and guile, and must continue to leap even higher moving forward so to speak. For Everton to continue on their upward trajectory, he will need to gain ever more trust and efficacy in this position. It truly opens up so much more for the Toffees tactically as well.
Were a player like Hirving Lozano to be signed from Napoli, the chess-like-mindgames of Carlo Ancelotti could really be utilized as well. The plethora of options that would create for the wily Italian in formations, positions and tactics could create a true problem for teams better than Jose Mourinho’s sorry north London lot. Even a Thomas Lemar could help to bring both depth and young quality to the club. But it all begins with Dominic now that the middle of the pitch looks more assured than in years. This is simply because, with a stable number nine at the top, the combinations available behind and to each of his sides can become really fun, creative and expressive.
And so DCL’s continued growth, in many ways, could fuel further offensive improvement; this is to say, both internally, as well as further external innovations as well. After one match, the past transfers of this summer have proven very encouraging; with another good showing and perhaps a bit more finishing quality from some other Everton players, the team could really excite not only fans on Merseyside and beyond, but the administration and the players as well. This could be the innovation of innovations, self confidence and an assertive swagger.
How to Keep on: A Guide for Everton, as well as their Young Central Striker
The ironic part about improving is that it is best done when one is not thinking of doing so explicitly. It should be an organic process, not one that entirely envelops the mind and its processes. In short, it must become simply a reflex for the body as well as the brain. For Calvert-Lewin, he will have to continue training and improving in this manner; a proper mixture of fun, intensity, education, teammates, coaches and ambition can get it done.
Luckily enough for DCL, he is in the proper place for all of that. Between the genius of Ancelotti and the courage, heart and guile that made Big Duncan Ferguson a Goodison Park legend, Calvert-Lewin has the proper coaches surrounding him. On either side, he has remarkable ability to grow with. James has the quality and vision to not only be a danger-man, but also to accentuate his young number nine’s ability too. The workrate of Abdoulaye Doucoure behind him allows the forward to focus on probing the opposition backline. Whoever plays to his left, whether it is Richarlison, Anthony Gordon, Bernard or Alex Iwobi, or perhaps one of the aforementioned transfer targets, can provide Calvert-Lewin different positive qualities as well.
Behind him sits the world class Allan. With a proper midfield maestro, the growth of all of the rest of the players can be more properly accentuated and developed than before. This knowledge of football, particularly Ancelotti’s football, as well as his skill and creativity, can help to develop players, but also make up for their own shortcomings whether on a run, positioning and so on.
On Sunday he had the whole of Tottenham in his pocket, and that was simply the first match for Everton. If he can stay healthy, he will be a huge asset to both Everton, as well as their budding young number nine.
Ancelotti brought in the experience and talent he did so as to accentuate the bevy of youth he already has. He knew that, given the right players around them, the youth could do more than what they had shown under Marco Silva. By unlocking the flair of the youth, your transfer targets prove themselves of greater value than simple goals or analytical data can ever demonstrate.
By transferring for Allan, Doucoure and James, you consequently end up getting better play from the players they end up playing around as well. In this way, the growth of the young Everton striker is as essential as any transfer target, unless, like the prior three, that target can further assist in accentuating youngsters like Richarlison, Moise Kean and Calvert-Lewin himself. In any event, only time will tell, but it feels as good a time as ever to be a Toffee after a strong opening match week for both Everton as well as DCL versus Tottenham.