‘I have to think of myself as a senior player now’: Dominic Calvert-Lewin says thinking he’s a kid will only hinder him as he aims for first-team slot
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin wants to establish himself as a regular in Premier League
- He understands why other players have left England to move to Bundesliga
- Calvert-Lewin idolises Thierry Henry and also learns from Duncan Ferguson
Calvert-Lewin shot to fame in 2017 when he scored England’s winner in their first World Cup final since 1966.
Though he’s made 62 first-team appearances for Everton, it’s only recently he’s seriously competed with the likes of Richarlison and Cenk Tosun for a starting place up front.
Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin doesn’t want to be regarded as a kid any more
‘I have to think of myself as a senior player now,’ says the 21-year-old who has scored five times this season and cleverly assisted Bernard’s FA Cup winner against Lincoln last weekend.
‘If I believe I’m still a young kid, it’s hindering me. I am leading the line for Everton so you have to grow into your shoes and carry that weight on your shoulders.
‘I have to back myself and think if I’m big enough to be picked by Everton and exposed in that situation, then I’m old enough to take whatever comes with it. That’s the way I kind of see it.’
While there appears to be some kind of pathway at Goodison, he is supportive towards other English youngsters who have left the Premier League’s ‘big six’ to gain first-team football abroad.
Calvert-Lewin cleverly assisted Bernard’s FA Cup winner against Lincoln last weekend
‘I think you have to respect the confidence that they have in themselves to go abroad and back their ability – especially at such a young age,’ he says. ‘You look at Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson now in the Bundesliga. It’s paying off for them because they’re getting exposed to first team football.
‘The Premier League is a competitive league where strikers can be brought in for x amount of pounds and it might block your pathway as a young player. To go abroad, if it gives you the opportunity to play at the highest level in that country then I think it’s a no-brainer.’
Calvert-Lewin himself is developing well under Marco Silva at Everton even though there is always an anxious wait before the teamsheet is out, and it will be the same before Sunday’s home game against Bournemouth.
Having followed the route of his hero Thierry Henry as a winger to centre-forward, 6ft3 Calvert-Lewin can call upon physical attributes to battle defenders as well as his natural pace. It also helps when legendary former No 9 Duncan Ferguson is on the coaching staff.
He admits he understands why others in his generation have gone overseas to seek fortune
Though recognising he’s got a long way to get to Didier Drogba’s level, he admits studying the former Chelsea legend’s game.
‘Watching him as a young kid in the Premier League, I think he had a little bit of everything. He could finish and had strength and pace. He had every aspect to his game.
‘I’d like to think with exposure on the pitch and experience, I can bring all those aspects to my game. If I was going to watch anyone on YouTube it would be Henry and Drogba.
‘Everton have had great centre-forwards in the past – they are big boots to fill. I’ve got Duncan Ferguson every day with me on the training pitch helping me on my game. It’s a pressure that I quite like and I think that I can grow into and it’s only going to make me a better player.
Calvert-Lewin believes he has big boots to fill as an Everton striker due to their history
‘I think a bit of me receiving the ball to feet this season and being more reliable, I’ve got to thank Dunc for that. In terms of finishing he just says: “Stick to what you’re good at.” I don’t try and change in a certain area, just stick to my way of finishing through repetition and find the back of the net.’
Everton’s more fluid way of playing under Silva compared to Sam Allardyce has helped strikers like Calvert-Lewin who now have runners from midfield to link up with. But results have been inconsistent and the team’s current position in mid-table is well below the ambitions earmarked at the club’s AGM last week when winning the Premier League within 10 years was set out as a target.
Calvert-Lewin is young enough to be part of the journey but the identity of today’s opponents Bournemouth brings home the fickle nature of football – with one of his England World Cup-winning team-mates Lewis Cook missing the game with a season-ending knee injury.
‘I’ve been in touch with Cookie. He’s a good mate, having gone through what we did and it’s extremely said to see the injury he’s got. He’s a good lad, hard-working and we want to see him back on the pitch as soon as possible.’