Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been transformed by Carlo Ancelotti’s way at Everton… there was always a fair bit to admire, but now the striker is producing exactly what the Italian wants from him in front of goal
- Prolific has not always been a word associated with Dominic Calvert-Lewin
- The Everton striker was not scoring enough goals despite admirable workrate
- But that has all changed under Carlo Ancelotti who is guiding his development
- Calvert-Lewin has 13 in 23 top-flight games since Ancelotti’s arrival last year
- He could be rewarded when Gareth Southgate names his England squad
When his big chance came, early on at Crystal Palace, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was ready.
He was just where manager Carlo Ancelotti wants him, producing exactly what the Italian wants from him.
In the penalty area, one-touch finish. The result? Another goal for his tally, to continue his prolific start to the season and help extend Everton‘s impressive opening.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his prolific start to the season against Crystal Palace
The Everton striker is producing exactly what manager Carlo Ancelotti wants from him
Once upon a time, prolific was not a word associated with the Everton striker, his best work taking place outside the box. But he is now under orders, with Ancelotti guiding his development.
‘He’s doing well because now he is more focused in the box,’ said Ancelotti after Calvert-Lewin’s fifth league goal of the season in three games. ‘In the area he has improved a lot. He doesn’t spend a lot of energy outside the box but he is ready in the box. This is what a striker has to do.
‘Playing with only him as the striker, he has to be ready in the box. At the moment, he is.’
Sometimes the smallest tweak can make the biggest difference.
Once upon a time, prolific was not a word associated with the 23-year-old Everton striker
In his first few seasons at Everton, following his £1.5million move from Sheffield United, there was always a fair bit to admire about Calvert-Lewin. His work-rate was prodigious and readiness to press defenders a real plus.
Defenders never had it easy in the air, either, with 6ft 2in Calvert-Lewin more than happy to put himself about.
But he was not scoring enough goals.
Under Ancelotti that has all changed. Calvert-Lewin scored 16 goals in 94 Premier League appearances for Everton pre-Ancelotti — one every 309 minutes. Since the Italian’s appointment, he has 13 in 23 top-flight games at a rate of one goal every 148 minutes.
But that has all changed under Ancelotti who is guiding his development into a prolific scorer
Such a simple instruction has also transformed Danny Ings’ goal return at Southampton.
Calvert-Lewin, the only English striker with more than Ings’ three at the end of Saturday’s games, could also be rewarded with international honours when Gareth Southgate names his squad on Thursday. If he is, Ancelotti has no intention of letting Calvert-Lewin stop there.
When the prospect of a first senior England call-up was raised, Ancelotti stressed Calvert-Lewin is doing the right things to put himself in contention with how he is ‘behaving in this moment’.
There was a similar emphasis when he assessed the Everton No 9’s improved penalty-box prowess. But there was caution when he was likened to one of the many world class strikers Ancelotti has worked with — Didier Drogba.
He was the only English striker with more goals than Danny Ings’ three at the end of Saturday
He could be rewarded when Gareth Southgate names his latest England squad on Thursday
Clearly, all this is just the start for Calvert-Lewin under Ancelotti, who joked last week that he and Richarlison — scorer of Everton’s winner from the spot — ‘can have a problem with me’ if they don’t hit the 20-goal mark with the likes of James Rodriguez creating chances.
Ancelotti’s opposite number Roy Hodgson had much less to smile about after his side’s winning start was ended by a penalty controversially awarded against Joel Ward for handball.
The decision left Hodgson feeling powerless.
He said: ‘I’m disillusioned that the game I’ve loved and served for so long — I’m finding it very hard to recognise it now. I don’t see anything which even looks remotely like a penalty when the ball is in our penalty area.’
Ancelotti joked Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will have a problem if they don’t score 20 goals