One of the more enjoyable parts of following Everton Twitter is fans’ reactions any time striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scores a goal. Whenever the big Brit gets on the scoresheet, a handful of posters will shoot out a certain five-second excerpt from “Scoring Goals,” a track from British rappers Y.C.B. and Yanko:
As the song goes, “Flag blue in the field I’m scoring goals, coming like Calvert-Lewin.” Luckily for both Everton and England fans, the 23-year-old striker has given plenty of reasons to post the song so far this season. Four matchdays into the Premier League season, DCL is currently tied with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min for the league lead with six goals. Five of those came in the month of September, which helped earn Calvert-Lewin his first-ever Premier League Player of the Month award. His best game so far came against West Bromwich Albion, in which he scored a hat trick to lead the Toffees to a 5-2 win:
Those exploits with Everton got Calvert-Lewin a call-up with England during this international break, and DCL has kept the good times rolling. On Thursday, Calvert-Lewin made his international debut and capped it with a goal in a 3–0 friendly win for the Three Lions at Wembley over Wales. Not bad for a player who, as recently as 2017, was being played at right wing back.
Calvert-Lewin’s game is the natural result of soccer’s evolution towards more well-rounded players. Whereas the stereotypical center forward of yore used to be either pacey or target men, the Everton No. 9 is both, a 6-foot-2 statue with the speed and quickness of a smaller man. He’s also a nifty dribbler in the box, using his control to clear open space for shots. He’s exciting precisely because he is a template of the modern striker: not the best at anything, but very good at a whole host of things that are needed in today’s game.
This allows Everton to play different kinds of players around DCL. So far this season, he’s been flanked mainly by Richarlison on the left and James Rodríguez on the right. The former is a true forward, one who would be just as comfortable in Calvert-Lewin’s spot, but also someone who can play behind the defending lines while DCL wrangles the center backs with his strength and speed. The latter, a new and stellar addition to the Toffees this season, is more of a No. 10, a playmaker lacking in pace but more than making it up for it with his passing and dribbling, allowing him to pick out Calvert-Lewin both on the ground and in the air.
Having proper service—DCL must still pinch himself when he sees that it is James whipping in a cross at him rather than Gylfi Sigurdsson or Bernard—has allowed Calvert-Lewin to do what all strikers should do when looking to jump to the next level: take more shots. Through four Premier League games this season, DCL is averaging about 4 shots per 90 minutes, a whole shot more than his previous career high last season. Those shots are always of high quality: 3.5 of the shots he takes per 90 minutes have come from inside the box. In short, he’s shooting more often and from great spots, so it tracks that he has scored at the astonishing rate he has so far.
Everton has been the surprise story of the young Premier League season, even for those who expected them to improve on last year’s 12th-place finish. Calvert-Lewin has been a key cog in the club’s success to date. He’s already almost halfway to his previous career-high of goals in a season, set last year with 13, and if he keeps scoring at anything resembling his early pace, he could shatter that before the end of the 2020 calendar year. It took awhile for him to start to realize his potential, but thanks to Everton’s shrewd transfer window purchases and coach Carlo Ancelotti’s system, the big man should elicit even more tweets from the Toffee faithful this season.