Calvert-Lewin ready to play a cen­tral role as Ever­ton push for top six

For­ward’s hat-trick shows how un­der Ancelotti he is de­vel­op­ing his game to be­come more po­tent in the penalty area

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Chris Bas­combe at Good­i­son Park

The toe poke from one yard might be the most un­der­rated goal in foot­ball. Lit­tle time is ded­i­cated to of­fer­ing it the lav­ish de­scrip­tion it de­serves, the hunt for su­perla­tives gen­er­ally aban­doned amid the swift and cliched re­port­ing of a “tap-in”.

Ever­ton’s vic­tory over West Bromwich Al­bion on Satur­day of­fered an ex­am­ple of how the virtue of a poacher’s fin­ish can be crim­i­nally ne­glected. In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of an en­ter­tain­ing home vic­tory, all the hy­per­bole was nat­u­rally re­served for James Ro­driguez’s as­sist in the build-up to Do­minic Calvert-Lewin’s sec­ond goal of his three in the 5-2 vic­tory.

Univer­sity dis­ser­ta­tions have been ded­i­cated to works of art less stim­u­lat­ing than the Colom­bian’s looped de­liv­ery over a be­wil­dered West Brom de­fence. Our en­thu­si­asm is al­ways drawn to the un­ortho­dox rather than what, on the sur­face at least, seems run of the mill.

None of Calvert-Lewin’s fin­ishes for his hat-trick were spec­tac­u­lar.

His tre­ble con­sisted of a non­cha­lant flick from three yards when he mis­tak­enly thought he was off­side; a nudge over the line from an even closer prox­im­ity; and a failed at­tempt to head a set-piece, the ball ric­o­chet­ing off his back and past goal­keeper Sam John­stone.

Yet look be­yond their ap­par­ent sim­plic­ity and they were as mean­ing­ful and glo­ri­ous as the 20-yarder from Ro­driguez which turned the game Ever­ton’s way shortly be­fore Kieran Gibbs and Slaven Bilic’s melt­downs and red cards.

Calvert-Lewin’s goals re­vealed more about the player’s rapid de­vel­op­ment un­der Carlo Ancelotti, and where this team may be head­ing. The 23-year-old striker touched the ball on only 25 oc­ca­sions on Satur­day, three of which led to him keep­ing the match ball. He is mas­ter­ing the skill fun­da­men­tal to any top­class Premier League striker – util­is­ing self­ish means to serve col­lec­tive ends.

Calvert-Lewin broke into the side a few years ago seek­ing to im­press by be­ing self­less, oc­cu­py­ing ev­ery zone in the at­tack­ing third, more likely to re­ceive the ball drag­ging a full-back wide than with his back to a cen­tre-half.

Make mine a tre­ble: Do­minic Calvert-Lewin cel­e­brates his third goal against West Brom

Shortly af­ter Ancelotti’s ap­point­ment, the Ital­ian made a crit­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion to his No9. “He pulled me aside and said ‘You need to stay cen­tral’,” Calvert-Lewin re­vealed in the midst of a goal blitz be­fore last sea­son’s lock­down. “I’m not go­ing to score near the cor­ner flag.”

Ini­tially, the trans­for­ma­tion was as­tound­ing. Calvert-Lewin struck eight in 11 games un­der Ancelotti and seemed to be on the verge of the Eng­land squad. Then, when foot­ball re­sumed, he did not score once. Gareth Southgate looked to Danny Ings and Ma­son Green­wood as Harry Kane’s Eng­land deputies.

That snub may have been a help more than hin­drance, given how swiftly Calvert-Lewin has taken ad­van­tage of Ever­ton’s more dy­namic and cre­ative mid­field in the first two Premier League games, a 20-goal sea­son the min­i­mum he and his man­ager should ex­pect.

One of Ancelotti’s ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­ties is the num­ber of player ref­er­ences at his dis­posal. In CalvertLew­in’s case, he namechecke­d AC

Mi­lan’s Filippo In­za­ghi as the ideal pro­to­type. “I had a fan­tas­tic striker in In­za­ghi, who scored 300 goals and 210 with one touch,” said Ancelotti. “A striker has to be fo­cused in the box and Calvert-Lewin un­der­stands be­cause in the box he has speed, jumps re­ally high, has power. Where he has im­proved more is there, in the box.”

This feels like the start of a vastly dif­fer­ent era at Good­i­son. Cap­tain Sea­mus Cole­man said he can sense the change in men­tal­ity – not just on match day – but around the club. Ro­driguez may be the cat­a­lyst for that, but there will be as much plea­sure and re­ward for Ancelotti if Calvert-Lewin toe­pokes Ever­ton towards the top six.

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