December 8, 2021

Calvert-Lewin is the perfect number nine and he’ll only get better, says Everton academy director Unsworth

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The Toffees frontman has been in incredible form of late and was handed his first senior England call-up by manager Gareth Southgate

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the “perfect number nine”, according to Everton‘s academy director David Unsworth, who has backed the free-scoring striker to continue improving.

Nine goals in all competitions so far this term for the 23-year-old have helped the Toffees to a perfect start to the 2020-21 campaign, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side sitting top of the Premier League and the club enjoying their best start to a campaign for decades.

Calvert-Lewin’s own form has seen him handed a maiden England call-up by senior national team boss Gareth Southgate, and Unsworth believes the Under-20 World Cup winner will remain a fixture in the Three Lions set-up for some time.

“It was a very proud moment for everybody at Everton when Dom got his England call-up,” Unsworth told the BBC. “It was long overdue, but he has his chance now and I think he’ll be in the squad for a very long time.

“There are loads of things that can make him even better and I would expect Dom to hit 20 goals this season and for every season after that. He’s the perfect number nine and his confidence is soaring.”

Born in Sheffield, Calvert-Lewin progressed under the tutelage of Sheffield United‘s former head of academy Nick Cox, who revealed that his development as a youngster was so quick that the club couldn’t offer him the right opportunities.

“We got to a point where his expectations of himself were exceeding the opportunities that came his way,” Cox, who now has the same job at Manchester United, said. “He found U16s and U18s football too easy and, as a local lad, he was desperate to go route one through the system, but we had to find another way.”

And find another way he did, with Unsworth still “amazed” that he was able to snap up Calvert-Lewin for a “cheeky” reported fee of just £1.5 million.

“What first caught my eye was his gym work,” Unsworth went on. “We’d be there in the evenings and his power from a standing jump was the best I’ve ever seen. He was doing a lot of squats, and jumps at an incredible height onto these wooden boxes.

“He had a few growth issues – his legs were growing at a different rate to his body – but that was the first time I saw him and thought ‘wow, there’s an incredible athlete there’.”

Calvert-Lewin might get a chance to add to his tally for the season when England take on Wales in a friendly on Thursday before the Three Lions pit their wits against Belgium in the UEFA Nations League.