The arrival of Marco Silva and marquee summer signing Richarlison for a princely sum spelled bad news for one man in particular at Goodison Park in the form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The England youth international was a regular for much of Sam Allardyce’s spell at the club but has started the Premier League campaign out of the team on Merseyside and will be desperately hoping that a knock from international duty is not serious enough to keep him out of action this weekend.
In the first three fixtures of the campaign, the 21-year-old managed just 21 minutes of action across two substitute appearances, but has since showed what he has to offer to his Portuguese boss.
Given an opportunity against Championship side Rotherham United in EFL Cup action, Calvert-Lewin took it with both hands as he scored with two clinical finishes in the second half of his first start of the season.
“There’s definitely a new buzz around Goodison. There’s a good vibe, all the players feel it. We’re keeping the football a lot better and the crowd are feeding off that. There’s a clear game plan and it’s to create creative, attacking football and to enjoy how we play. We did that tonight and I think we’ll continue to do it going forward. The more work we do – the manager believes it, we believe it – we’ll only get better.”
That earned him his first league start of the campaign against Huddersfield, where he scored again from the left flank to earn a point for the Toffees and produce one of the most eye-catching displays of anyone on the field.
In England action for the under 21s he again looked lively against the Netherlands before being pulling up with an ankle problem after just eight minutes of a 2-1 win over Latvia on Tuesday. Despite that, he is yet to be ruled out of action to face West Ham on Sunday.
Now back in the north-west, Calvert-Lewin will feel that he’s done enough. With Richarlison suspended and doubts over Theo Walcott’s fitness, proving his own fitness could be crucial to his hopes for the rest of the campaign.
Whilst it may just be an ankle knock which he could overcome, Calvert-Lewin will be relishing the chance to go up against a West Ham defence which has been little short of shambolic of late, and if he is forced to miss out, it could be a huge blow to his hopes to establish himself as a regular for Silva.