The rise of Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has come as a surprise to many.
From inauspicious beginnings at League One Sheffield United, via loan spells at Stalybridge Celtic and Northampton Town, Calvert-Lewin is currently the hottest striker in English football after scoring eight goals in five appearances. After years of hard work and hard running, Dominic's progress has become impossible to ignore.
Since joining Everton in 2016, Calvert-Lewin has played under six managers: Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva, Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti. It is a bewildering statistic that reflects a period of turmoil and confusion at Goodison Park. In this environment, it is perhaps not surprising that the striker took time to develop.
His initial first team appearances involved supporting Romelu Lukaku. After the Belgian's departure, Calvert-Lewin did what was asked of him while also contributing goals: eight in the 2017/18 season, and the same the following campaign. That, however, hardened the view that this was a player who had reached his ceiling. Hard-working and versatile but simply not potent enough to fill the Lukaku-shaped hole.
However, the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti in December 2019 has marked a sea change in the Sheffielder's career. Reminiscent of having a teacher who puts their arm around you and instils you with belief, Ancelotti has spoken effusively of the young forward.
"He [Calvert-Lewin] works hard, really hard, he has to be focussed more on not moving too much outside [into wide positions]. He has to stay close to the box because there he is really dangerous."
It's safe to say Calvert-Lewin has followed this advice. After scoring 15 goals in all competitions last year, Dominic has started this campaign in irrepressible form. During their first match at Tottenham, he netted the winning goal with a thumping header that prime Alan Shearer would be proud of. It was very probable the ball would still be travelling now if the netting hadn't got in the way.
In their next match, Calvert-Lewin scored an impressive hat-trick against West Brom which he followed up with a Carabao treble against West Ham. This made him the first Evertonian to score two hat-tricks in one month since the legendary Dixie Dean in 1931.
Of course, this form has earned him a deserved England call-up. It is currently hard to see where Calvert-Lewin would fit into the Three Lions frontline - Harry Kane remains one of Europe's prime strikers - however, DCL's form is just impossible to ignore.
There will be some that will claim that's Dominic Calvert-Lewin hot streak in front of goal cannot last forever. Even if the striker notched 20 goals this season, a host of commentators would be lining up to label him the next Marlon Harewood.
But, these pundits would be mistaken. Under the tutelage of one of Europe's finest managers, all evidence so far suggests that Calvert-Lewin is blossoming into the real deal.
Source : 90min