If Everton are to win their first Merseyside derby in a decade, they’ll probably need Dominic Calvert-Lewin to continue his brilliant form…
It’s the Merseyside derby at the weekend, and while history tells us there’s a snooze fest ahoy, recent form suggests we might be in for a humdinger.
Not least because this is only the second time since Everton last won this fixture that they go into the game ahead of their neighbours in the league table.
They’ve won all of their four games so far and look in rare form, so when you throw in Liverpool reeling from the 7-2 hosing they were on the ugly end of from Aston Villa last time out, plenty of signs point to an Everton win.
They will of course need Dominic Calvert-Lewin to continue his glorious form. The Everton No.9 has ten goals to his name for club and country already this term, and has only failed to score in one Everton game this season – and even then he only played 45 minutes in that one.
He’s already only a few away from the 15 he bagged last season, but how has he improved? What has happened to the previously decent but ultimately nothing more than that Calvert-Lewin, to turn him into this striding goal machine?
Who better to ask than a player with 144 England caps to her name: Karen Carney was on The Totally Football Show this week, and she explained what Calvert-Lewin has changed this season to make him so good.
“I watched him against Aston Villa 18 months ago and he was running everywhere: running the channels, and when the ball was put into the penalty area he was nowhere to be seen.
“What he does now is play in the 18 yard box, right between the two centre-halves. He doesn’t really vacate that: when balls are delivered to him, he’s there in the right place, at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net.
“He’s not doing any stupid running, his runs are more calculated, his hold-up play is impressive, but he’s also got better players to give him the ball.
“Sometimes when you’re a young player trying to impress the manager, you do everything: you run into different areas, you run here, there and everywhere – it’s not your job. Your job is to be in the 18-yard box and put the ball in the back of the net.
“Sometimes the hardest thing is not running, and being smart. While everyone else is running and the game is frantic, sometimes standing still is the hardest thing in the world to do, and to be calculating and be smart about your movement.”
And if this is the change that Calvert-Lewin has made, he’s following in some pretty solid footsteps.
“Lionel Messi: if you go and watch him live, you’ll go “wow, he walks a lot of the game.” The game is moving so fast, everyone;’s running everywhere. if he stands still then spaces appear. He picks up the ball from a standing position and then he goes.
“The best players, like Zidane as well, they’re patient. They wait and wait, then find little spaces, one yard, two yards.”
So there you go: less, as ever, is more.
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