Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti believes he has “a complete striker” in Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the in-form forward received his first England call-up.
The 23-year-old already has eight goals this season, including back-to-back hat-tricks at Goodison Park, and has benefited enormously from the coaching he has received from Ancelotti.
When the Italian took over in December Calvert-Lewin immediately went on a run of eight goals in 11 matches prior to the Covid-enforced season break.
Ancelotti insists he has done nothing special with him, other than tell him to operate closer to the goal, and believes he is flourishing because of a change of his tactics and a different mental approach.
“He is a complete striker. It is not easy to find a striker with these characteristics,” Ancelotti said ahead of the visit of Brighton.
“He has a lot of energy, is really fast. I am really pleased he is doing really well and scoring goals because at the end a striker is judged on the goals he scores.
“It’s a great achievement for him (the England call-up). I hope it will not be the last. It depends on him. He is doing really well. He needs to have consistency.
“For the strikers we do some individual exercises but nothing special. I think it was more mental or tactical to be focused in the box.
“To have James (Rodriguez) behind is helpful, not only for Dominic as a striker but for us to have better possession of the ball
“Dominic used the quality of James and the quality of the team. What we like to do is play attacking football and he is now focused on the box.”
Everton are looking to make it seven successive wins at home to the Seagulls on Saturday.
That would be the club’s best start to a season since 1894-95, when they won their first eight matches.
However, more injury problems are not making life easy for Ancelotti, who is aware it is unlikely such serene progress will continue forever.
“This beautiful bubble where we live will finish. When it does the squad has to be strong,” he added.
“We are really pleased. It is only the start. The season is long. I have told them there will be difficulties. But the spirit of the team is really good.”
Defender Jonjoe Kenny will be out for a month with an ankle injury sustained in the midweek Carabao Cup victory over West Ham, with midfielder Allan’s injured groin in that game keeping him out until after the international break.
Fellow midfielder Andre Gomes will also miss the match with a minor problem, while forward Richarlison faces a late fitness test on an ankle injury.
But even with mounting injury problems there is no room in Ancelotti’s still-bloated squad for Yannick Bolasie, who has not played for the club since May 2018 after a series of unsuccessful loans and is destined for the exit.
“Bolasie is training well, professionally. He is not part of the squad,” said Ancelotti.
“He can train with us until he finds a club at the end of the market. I have told him that we have a big squad and unfortunately there is no space for him.”