Wayne Rooney has returned, but is Dominic Calvert-Lewin the new star emerging at Goodison Park?
Following the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, Ronald Koeman made many eye-catching additions to the Everton squad – Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and most recently Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Toffees have made a solid start to their Premier League campaign, with a victory at Goodison Park against Stoke City, followed up by a 1-1 draw at Manchester City.
Nonetheless, despite the big money arrivals, there was a certain player’s performance in particular that really stood out in the draw at the Etihad under the floodlights, on Monday.
We have seen that Ronald Koeman acknowledges age little more than a number, with Mason Holgate and Tom Davies both breaking into and cementing their places in the first team. However, it was the other young starlet, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was the name on everyone’s lips.
The Sheffield-born striker came onto the scene last season, vaguely, making eleven appearances in an Everton shirt. Following the 2016/17 campaign, Calvert-Lewin had a summer to remember, as he scored the winning goal in the Under-20 World Cup final for Paul Simpson’s young lions.
With a five-year contract under his belt, it is clear that the Merseyside club have a lot of belief in the young man and, after his performance against Pep Guardiola’s side, they have every reason to.
On paper, the side that Koeman put out against City looked as though it could get over-powered. Nonetheless any player, fan or spectator under that illusion was soon proven otherwise. Calvert-Lewin played as a lone striker, with Wayne Rooney and Tom Davies playing behind him in attacking midfield roles.
It has to be said that for such a young player, he led the line like a striker that had been doing it all his life – like Romelu Lukaku did so well last season on numerous occasions. The 20-year-old’s pace, pressing and constant willingness to offer an option for his team was remarkable.
Although lots of his work was done off the ball, when he had it at his feet – where every striker wants it – he showed terrific technical ability and maturity. He waited for players to support him in attack, held the ball well, all while showing a surprising level of strength against City defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany.
Speed is such a big part of the game nowadays, especially in the top flight – and he has it in abundance. The forward’s assist was the moment that really made you sit forward and think to yourself that the player you were watching has a big future ahead of him.
It was a move that summed up all the sumptuous qualities he had shown up until that point. A move featuring a lovely interchange between Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate.
After offering a through ball option for Holgate, with his clever movement into the wide channel, the front-man showed that he has composure, which separates the quality young players from just ‘good’ ones.
Many would’ve just flashed a cross into the box, but the Everton man kept his cool, before pulling back the precisest of crosses, directly into the path of Wayne Rooney, who guided his finish home.
It is granted that the number twenty-nine doesn’t have the physicality of Lukaku, and perhaps he won’t burst from the half way line and smash past the Goalkeeper like Lukaku did last season at the Etihad.
However, at just 20 years of age, Calvert-Lewin has countless years to make his mark, and if early signs are anything to go by, the Evertonian’s will take an even bigger liking to him as he progresses and develops.