Dominic Calvert-Lewin has the potential to establish himself as Everton’s first-choice centre forward and could even force his way into the England squad, says Jamie Redknapp.
The 22-year-old scored twice in Everton’s 2-1 win at Newcastle on Saturday as Carlo Ancelotti became just the third Toffees manager to win his first two Premier League games in charge.
Speaking after the game Ancelotti said Calvert-Lewin had all the attributes to become a “top striker” in Europe.
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Just 48 hours earlier the former Sheffield United youngster had also found the back of the net in a 1-0 Boxing Day win over Burnley at Goodison Park, with his tally for the season now a career-best 10 in 22 appearances in all competitions.
Five of those goals have come in his last five games, including a brace against Chelsea in the first of Duncan Ferguson’s four matches in caretaker charge earlier this month following the sacking of Marco Silva.
Like Calvert-Lewin, Ferguson used to wear the number nine shirt during his playing days at Goodison Park and Redknapp believes the Scot, now installed as one of Ancelotti’s assistants, is the ideal man to nurture the striker’s abilities.
And combined with the vast knowledge and experience brought by Ancelotti, he feels Calvert-Lewin has the perfect environment in which to fulfil his domestic and international ambitions.
“With Carlo Ancelotti as a manager and Duncan Ferguson as a mentor, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is getting the best of both worlds,” Redknapp told the Mail.
“One is a world-class coach who has worked with Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi and more. The other is a man who knows what it takes to be Everton’s No 9, and that is not an easy job.
“Think of the greats who wore that shirt in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, from Joe Royle to Bob Latchford to Graeme Sharp. Think of the defenders who had to face Big Dunc and got a face full of No 9 while trying to mark him.
“You could forgive Calvert-Lewin for maybe feeling haunted by those iconic players of the past. It comes with a great deal of pressure to carry that number on your back.
“My experience with centre forwards taught me that they are a different breed. They almost need the kid-glove treatment. They like to be loved and told how good they are.
“What Ancelotti said (after Saturday’s win over Newcastle) will give Calvert-Lewin belief. It will give him confidence to hear a man with his reputation saying that about him.”
One of the principal reasons behind Everton’s struggles in recent seasons has been their failure to adequately replace Romelu Lukaku, who left for Manchester United in the summer of 2017.
The likes of Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney and Cenk Tosun have all tried – and failed – to replicate the Belgian’s goalscoring form since.
The Toffees have again been linked with a number of strikers in next month’s transfer window but Redknapp believes Calvert-Lewin could save the club several million pounds, as well as give Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate something to ponder ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
“It feels like every transfer window, you hear about how Everton simply have to sign a top striker,” added the former England midfielder.
“But Calvert-Lewin should want to take on that role himself. I’d love to see him have a real crack at it.
“If this young forward is willing to listen and wants to learn, he might save that club an awful lot of money in the summer.
“Calvert-Lewin is already a nightmare to mark because he doesn’t stop running. You cannot doubt his work rate or desire. He is a big boy, too — strong, physical, capable of battling with any defender.
“He’s seen Tammy Abraham earn his shot with England under Gareth Southgate. He’s seen Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford rack up those caps. Calvert-Lewin should want that for himself, too.”