Dominic Calvert-Lewin's England call up is no more than he deserves

The making of Dominic Calvert-Lewin: The Premier Leaugue’s hottest striker has had to be patient on his rise from non-League and black eyes to top-flight star… but his first England call-up is no less than he deserves

  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad 
  • It comes after the 23-year-old’s incredible start to the 2020-21 campaingn  
  • The striker netted back-to-back hat-tricks against West Brom and West Ham
  • He has had to be patient in his rise, having started senior career in Non League

Having watched him torment defences across the Premier League over the past 10 months, it’s difficult to imagine a time when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the one being bullied on the football pitch. 

Starting your senior professional career as a 16-year-old in the Conference North, however, was always bound to be a baptism of fire. 

Making his debut for Stalybridge Celtic against local rivals Hyde United, the teenager received a whack to the face during a miserable first-half in freezing conditions, leaving him with a black eye. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has recieved his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad 

Two coaches from his parent club, Sheffield United, convinced him to stay on. As Calvert-Lewin recalled while speaking to the press on Tuesday: ‘I played the rest of the game with basically one eye because the other one closed up, but that experience for me at the time was the most I ever enjoyed my football.

‘It just gave me that sense of what it was to play in front of fans, to play proper men’s football, and it was definitely a catalyst in propelling me forward.’

That moment has now propelled him into Gareth Southgate’s England squad, with the 23-year-old receiving his first call-up for the three fixtures against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

It is no more than his form merits, having started the 2020-21 campaign as the top flight’s in-form striker. 

The Everton striker has been selected following a scintillating start to the 2020-21 campaign 

Six league goals in four appearances, along with a hat-trick in the Carabao Cup against West Ham, has helped Everton set the pace this season, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side currently top of the table with four wins from four. 

It is the kind of form those around Calvert-Lewin never doubted he was capable of, but the Sheffield born striker has had to be patient. 

Starting at his boyhood club Sheffield United, Calvert-Lewin came back from Stalybridge Celtic something of a cult hero after scoring six times in just five appearances for the North West side.  

He was then sent out to Northampton, where he got his first taste of regular game time in the Football League under Chris Wilder. 

When he returned to Bramall Lane, an offer from Everton came in for £1.5million. With the Blades still languishing in League One, and a shot at the Premier League too good to turn down, Calvert-Lewin left for Goodison Park. 

As Everton Academy Director David Unsworth told the BBC, he is still ‘amazed’ to this day that the Toffees got their man at such a bargain price. 

The 23-year-old addressed the media this week, talking about his rise from non-league football

On Merseyside, he has been forced to bide his time, too. A steady flow of managers came in and overlooked him, the likes of Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva all opting for more established names and players with more first-team experience to lead the line. 

Instead, Calvert-Lewin was pushed wide, his heat maps over the past few season showing his influence in matches came down the left flank in his first season, before switching to  the right. 

With the help of a former Blues No 9, though, that changed. When Duncan Ferguson took charge following Silva’s departure, the Scotsman showed his faith by sticking the striker up top for his first game in charge against Chelsea. Calvert-Lewin scored twice in a memorable 3-1 win. 

That confidence was also demonstrated by Ancelotti on his arrival, the Italian choosing against dipping into the January market and instead putting his faith in the England Under 21 international, whose goals secured victory over Burnley and Newcastle during the festive period. 

Despite the fact he was still getting his feet in under the table, the former Milan and Real Madrid boss was clear on the impression his No 9 made. 

Calvert-Lewin’s opportunities at Everton received a boost when Duncan Ferguson took charge

‘He is a fantastic striker, in my opinion – fantastic with the head, clever in the box and sharp,’ said the Italian after victory at St James’s Park.

‘I think he is going to be at the top in England and in Europe. He has all the qualities to be a top striker.’

It is a faith that the forward has repaid, and then some. Since SIlva’s departure from Goodison Park, only Mohamed Salah has scored more than Calvert-Lewin’s 14 Premier League goals. 

Ancelotti’s opinion appears well founded, but it is the work off the pitch that will have added as much to the conclusions he’s been able to draw.

A constant presence in the gym and an unflinching desire to strive for self-improvement, he has been described as a ‘freak’ by those who work closely with him.

One source told Sportsmail: ‘His mental intelligence and discipline is not something to be underestimated. He’s got his own blueprint – he’s different, his own person.’ 

Under Carlo Ancelotti, the striker has gone from strength to strength at Goodison Park 

Constant reading, yoga and working on a fashion ranges with H&M are signs of a young man comfortable in his own skin and not afraid to go against the convential image of an England No 9.  

On the pitch, his progress continues, too. 

Whenever a comparison is drawn between any player and Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s advisable to take the comments with a pinch of salt. When those comments are echoed however – and by a Brazilian international no less – it does grab the attention. 

Calvert-Lewin’s leap has drawn comments throughout his career, even at an early stage, his former Sheffield United team-mate Neil Collins compared him to the Portuguese icon.

Only this week, the link between the pair was brought up again, this time by Everton team-mate Richarlison.

‘Dominic’s development has been really impressive,’ he told FIFA’s official website.

‘He’s transformed into a complete striker. I remember when I got here he was nothing like the player he is today. 

‘He must be a nightmare to play against and he has an incredible leap on him like Cristiano Ronaldo.’

Calvert-Lewin is one of three Englishman who can claim to have scored in a World Cup final

For now, Ancelotti wants him imitating a different icon of the game. Calvert-Lewin has been watching videos of Filippo Inzaghi, taking in the Italian’s ability to score with his first touch inside the box, as he looks to add a predatory streak to his game. 

Having demonstrated it with Everton, the next goal will be to do it for his country – a challenge that shouldn’t be an issue for one of only three Englishmen who can lay claim to having scored in a World Cup final. 

Calvert-Lewin grabbed the decisive goal in 2017 as England Under-20s beat Venezuela 1-0 in the World Cup final in South Korea. 

For now, a strike against Wales in a friendly at Wembley would do for starters.  

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article