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Could a remarkable year for Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin be about to get better?

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Calvert-Lewin

It has been some 2017 for Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The forward, now 20 years of age, was brought to Goodison Park in a £1.5 million deal from local club Sheffield United on the August transfer window deadline day of 2016, scoring his first goal for the Toffees in March 2017 in a 4-0 Premier League triumph over Hull.

With 11 appearances and one goal to his name following the end of last season, he put pen to paper on a five-year contract to keep him at Everton until 2022.

His stock rose even higher over the summer, when he featured in the England Under-20 side which triumphed at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, Calvert-Lewin himself netting the winner in the final against Venezuela.

However, following the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United over the August transfer window, too much pressure too soon has been heaped on the shoulders of the young striker, ultimately culminating in Ronald Koeman’s dismissal as Everton manager.

Granted, Wayne Rooney returned to his boyhood club as part of the deal, and the Dutchman succeeded in bringing Málaga front man Sandro Ramírez through the door, but with no direct replacement for Lukaku, he was forced to turn to Calvert-Lewin as a focal point as the Toffees struggled for goals.

Such pressure on such young shoulders has stifled Calvert-Lewin’s ability to produce.

It started well enough, the youngster scoring in the club’s Europa League qualifier against MFK Ružomberok back in August, but consistent profligacy in front of goal soon followed.

He missed key chances to score in Everton’s 2-2 draw with Apollon Limassol in the group stages, while enduring similar frustration in the Premier League.

He did fare somewhat better in the Carabao Cup, however, netting a further three goals which came against Sunderland and Chelsea, prior to their Fourth Round exit.

Then, following Ronald Koeman’s sacking and the appointment of David Unsworth as caretaker-manager, came the visit of Watford on the 5th November.

The Hornets were 2-0 up on Merseyside by the 64th minute, but following in-form Oumar Niasse’s reply on 67 minutes, Calvert-Lewin headed home less than 10 minutes laters from Everton’s first corner of the match to equalise, scoring his first Premier League goal of the season.

Everton would go on toe complete the comeback with a Leighton Baines penalty to seal a vital 3-2 victory.

With the goal likely to come as a much-needed and timely boost of confidence for Calvert-Lewin, the triumph over Watford may just represent a turning-point in his season.

Despite seemingly struggling in front of goal, Calvert-Lewin has actually had a hand in more goals than any other Everton player so far this season, with five goals and two assists in all competitions.

His average shooting accuracy is at 30%, with seven of his 23 attempts on goal in the top-flight finding the target.

Yet, in his 11 appearances so far this season – already as many as he made in 2016/17 – he has played a total of 183 passes, created three key chances in addition to his two assists, and attempted nine crosses into the box.

The latter statistic perhaps highlights an issue in Everton’s build-up play, particularly under Koeman.

Calvert-Lewin’s only Premier League goal has come from a headed opportunity. As useful as it is for the player to drop off, run the channels and attempt to play crosses into the box, he should be the player looking to get on the end of such opportunities more often.

The youngster has remarkably shown great aerial prowess this season, despite a relatively modest height of five feet and nine inches. This is something David Unsworth should be sure to take note of as he attempts to adapt the Toffees going forward.

Calvert-Lewin also does his bit defensively too, and this also is reflected in the statistics. The forward has put in a total of six blocks, five interceptions, eight clearances, and five headed clearances throughout his 11 top-flight matches.

It may have been wishful thinking on Ronald Koeman’s part that the Under-20 World Cup winner would enjoy a prolific breakthrough season on Merseyside, but if the standard of service into the final third improves, the potential is certainly there for Calvert-Lewin to get on the score sheet more often.

Equally, it is no coincidence that Calvert-Lewin’s strike came at a time when he was featuring up-front next to Oumar Niasse, the Senegalese’s strength and physicality offering the 20-year-old an option to feed from, rather than having to hold up the ball himself and create opportunities for others.

Niasse himself has four goals in four appearances at Goodison Park this season. This could render him a useful option as a partner to the Calvert-Lewin to help relieve some pressure. Unsworth, therefore, may just be tempted to trial a partnership of the two forwards in future matches.

With winnable fixtures on the agenda, providing the Toffees get their approach right, there is a certain opportunity to put together a run of back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

The hunger is there in the Everton camp, with the desire of Calvert-Lewin and the belated breakthrough of Niasse. However, the challenge now, particularly for the former, is to convert promise into end product consistently as the Toffees seek to climb the table.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

Everton

PSV’s Hirving Lozano would be fantastic upgrade to Yannick Bolasie for Everton

The Mexican international would be an exciting prospect at Goodison Park.

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Lozano
Photo: Getty Images

Reports in the Sunday Mirror (April 22nd, page 64), confirmed that PSV Director of Football Marcel Brands will be at Everton next season, an impressive acquisition that will also grease the chains for PSV players to replicate his move to Goodison Park.

Chief among these Eredivisie stars is Mexican international Hirving Lozano, a prolific winger that would slot in seamlessly at Everton.

At just 22 years of age, Lozano is enjoying a dream season at PSV, leading many to wonder if it is time to make the step up to the Premier League.

The winger has scored a stunning 16 goals and provided eight assists to date this season, making him second-top scorer in the division. Lozano’s unparalleled offensive contribution has led PSV to the Eredivisie title.

Even more impressive, Lozano’s remarkable season has come in his debut year in Europe. He signed for the Dutch club from Mexican side Pachuca in June 2017 and has taken Holland by storm in his first year abroad.

(during the Dutch Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and VVV Venlo held at Philips Stadion on March 17, 2018 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

This knack for adapting to a new, unfamiliar environment is what makes the Mexican international a perfect fit for a move to Everton. The winger has shown he is not phased by a change of scenery and will be tipped to hit the ground running at Goodison Park.

Lozano is deadly when stationed on the left side of a front three, constantly cutting inside on his preferred right foot and unleashing unerring finishes past despairing goalkeepers.

His trademark acceleration and devastating dribbling skills are Lozano’s best features and will provide constant headaches for Premier League backlines.

With Brands set to be announced as Everton’s new Director of Football, the Merseyside will benefit from a distinct advantage in the continental race to sign Hirving Lozano.

The Mexican star would prove to be a famous signing for the Toffees, offering a superior alternative to the maddeningly inconsistent Yannick Bolasie on the left wing.

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Championship

George Hirst should reject Manchester United and join Everton this summer

Everton are just one club said to be keen on Sheffield Wednesday forward George Hirst.

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Everton’s under-23 season has come to an end and, after a disappointing campaign, changes are likely to take place this summer. Plenty of players are set to leave. David Henen has already made it clear he is on his way out of the club. Meanwhile, Luke Garbutt has been told to move on by senior boss Sam Allardyce.

But new faces are also expected to arrive at Finch Farm. As reported by the Liverpool Echo the under-23s boss David Unsworth is keen to bring in some new faces, with the paper even naming one of the players Everton will be trying to sign. The player in question is Sheffield Wednesday youngster George Hirst.

The 19-year-old is out of contract at Hillsborough this summer. He has hardly featured for the club’s under-23s this term after contract negotiations between himself and the club completely fell apart.

(Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images)

Now he is set to find a new home and Everton appear to be one option. But Manchester United are also said to be keen, 26 years after Sir Alex Ferguson failed to bring his dad David Hirst to Old Trafford from The Owls.

Everton, however, must beat United to his signature. Hirst is simply one of the best young strikers in English football. Unfortunately, the behind-the-scenes issues at Wednesday this season have left Hirst’s development in question. But, prior to that, he was on fire for both the Wednesday under-23s and England youth teams.

A tall and powerful striker there is certainly a lot to admire about Hirst’s game. Comparisons with England’s current striking sensation Harry Kane are certainly justified.

The fact is Hirst has all the potential to be a future Premier League and England star and must make the right move this summer for that to become a reality. Whilst United may be the more tempting of the moves, Everton would suit him better.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The pathway to the first-team is certainly easier at Everton. This has been proven by the likes of Tom Davies, Jonjoe Kenny, Beni Baningime and fellow Sheffield lad Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Last summer he helped England win the Toulon Tournament, finishing as joint top-scorer on four goals. This summer he faces a whole new different challenge as his career takes its vital next step.

The best move would be an Everton switch where, hopefully, he could go on to become a star at Goodison Park.

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English Premier League

Shani Tarashaj is back in action for Everton, but does he have future at club?

The Swiss international has struggled with injury and illness at Everton.

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Friday evening saw Everton play their final under-23 game of the season. The side battled to a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, with Matty Foulds and Luke Garbutt the unlikely goalscorers. The fixture also saw the appearance from the bench of a forgotten Everton player – Shani Tarashaj.

Back in January 2016, the then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed Swiss international Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers Zurich. The fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, was around £3 million for a player that Martinez had high hopes for.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The young attacker had come through the ranks at Grasshoppers and was immediately loaned back to them until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

All the signs pointed to a future Everton star, but that has not been the case. Instead, Tarashaj has flopped at Everton and it would be no surprise if he was sold by the club this summer.

So what went wrong?

Firstly, the change of manager. It was Martinez who brought Tarashaj to the club in the same window he had signed Oumar Niasse. Once the Spaniard left, getting into Ronald Koeman ’s plans was always going to be a more difficult task.

Tarashaj then spent 2016-17 on loan at German side Eintracht Frankfurt. He struggled to make an impact in Germany and to compound his misery, injury and illness have struck.

(during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Switzerland at Aviva Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Benign angina and severe tonsillitis have disrupted the sickly Swiss’ career on Merseyside before he suffered knee ligament damage last summer, which required surgery.

This season, the attacking midfielder has managed just two appearances for Everton’s under-23s and his career as a Toffee has, so far, been one to forget.

There is still hope for the Swiss international. He still has two years left on his contract at Everton and perhaps there is still a chance he can make it at Goodison Park. But two-and-a-half years after first signing for the club, Tarashaj is still waiting to make his Everton debut.

The Manchester United tie may very well prove to be his last as an Everton player.

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