Everton striker nets on England debut

Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton (Photo by Nick Potts / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by NICK POTTS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton (Photo by Nick Potts / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by NICK POTTS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Dominic Calvert-Lewin made his debut for England in last night’s friendly against Wales and the Everton man scored his country’s opener too.

As expected the Everton striker started the international friendly against Wales at Wembley and he produced a fine first-half performance.

Calvert-Lewin was lively, full of running and and always dominant in the air. He was giving the Welsh defenders a difficult time.

He nearly scored early on when he made a great run into the box, took a fine pass and rounded the Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy, pulling the ball back but no one in a white shirt was there to put into the net.

Despite that chance, England in fact were sluggish and disjointed early in in the first half. Gareth Southgate had picked a team playing with three centre-backs including Michael Keane.

It was a system that didn’t really work with England lacking enough bodies in the middle and with too much space between that defence and the midfield.

So England’s players ended up often lofting rather hopeful long balls forward, which was not the most effective approach. Wales were looking the much more cohesive side in the early  exchanges.

Meanwhile the Everton striker was playing alongside Southampton’s Danny Ings. The two worked quite well together but the service wasn’t very consistent and both Calvert-Lewin and Ings were usually feeding off scraps.

The one player who was showing real creative flair and imagination and knitting things together effectively for the Three Lions, was Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.

Grealish is one of the stars of the embryonic Premier League season. He has been hugely influential for the midlands team this season, culminating in an outstanding performance as the Villans hit Liverpool for seven last Sunday.

And it was Grealish who found the breakthrough for England. He picked up the ball on the right skipped forward and dinked an excellent cross into the box, which Calvert-Lewin met with a powerful downward header for the opening goal.

The Everton man didn’t really have any other concrete chances but continued to show excellent movement and that constant threat in the air.

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He was though taken off by Southgate having done very well and looking totally comfortable in international football. No doubt he will get another chance in an England shirt soon.

Incidentally, that goal made the 23-year-old the first Everton striker to score for England at Wembley since October 1985 when Gary Lineker netted against Turkey.

That’s a dreadful indictment if the lack of quality English forwards that the Blues have had for the past few decades. Let’s hope Calvert-Lewin scores many more Wembley goals.

So Everton’s new striking star had marked his international debut with a goal to put him in company with past Toffees centre-forward legends such as Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton.

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If Calvert-Lewin can become half as good and consistently productive in front of goal as those two all-time greats, then who knows what he and the team might achieve.