Had 2020 gone to plan, the world would have been gearing up for the opening match of the UEFA European Championships on Friday, as Turkey were due to venture to Rome and face-off with Italy. The following Sunday, June 14, was set to see England kick-start their campaign at Wembley, playing host to Croatia.
As with every international fixture, the country would have already experienced weeks of heated discussion following the always-controversial squad announcement. The usual suspects would have been first on the team sheet: captain Harry Kane, wide threat Raheem Sterling and midfielder Dele Alli, for example. One player who may not have been a definite in Gareth Southgate’s mind is Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The 23-year-old has been magnificent fronting the line for the Toffees this season. Having found the net 13 times in 27 appearances, he has quickly cemented his part in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans.
Calvert-Lewin – lovingly known as DCL – moved to Merseyside from boyhood club Sheffield United in 2016, for a fee of £1.5m. It has proved to be a small price to pay as Everton’s gamble has paid dividends. The Goodison Park faithful have watched him develop into a dangerous, hard-working forward who is set to head Everton’s renaissance.
The Englishman has donned the famous royal-blue shirt on 105 occasions. He provides an element of versatility in the Toffees’ approach to tactics due to his ability to operate various roles on the pitch. One of his key talents is playing with his back to goal – a very difficult style indeed.
Standing at 6’2”, Calvert-Lewin suits the target-man role well when combining his height with his strength. Blessed with the ability to bring the ball down and fend off defenders, his hold-up play has been crucial to Everton’s campaign as it introduces rapid players such as Bernard, Richarlison and Moise Kean to the attack, each of whom is more than capable of burying the ball beyond any goalkeeper.
To classify Calvert-Lewin as little more than a target-man would be unjust, seeing as he is equally talented with the ball on the carpet. The 23-year-old often utilises his agility and brilliant footballing brain to find a goal in even the most unlikely times.
Take, for example, his first-minute goal away to Arsenal in February. The youngster was the first to react to a loose ball in the penalty area and struck home a sensational bicycle kick to open the scoring in what eventually ended in a 3-2 defeat.
Sheffield-born Calvert-Lewin is no stranger to the international stage, either. With a combined 31 appearances for both England’s under-20 and under-21 set-ups, his achievements with the Three Lions far outweigh any other striker vying for a place in the senior squad.
He has 13 goals to his name in international competition, most notably of which served as the winning goal in the 2017 under-20 World Cup final as England roared to global success in South Korea.
Calvert-Lewin is yet to receive a call-up to senior international duties, but, with eight goals in his last 12 matches, he is tipped to debut very soon.