Thursday 21 September 2017

Dominic Calvert-Lewin talks up Everton team-mate Romelu Lukaku

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his maiden Everton goal in the win over Hull
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his maiden Everton goal in the win over Hull

Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin believes Romelu Lukaku's landmark late two-goal salvo enhanced his credentials as a top striker.

The Belgium international had been well marshalled by Hull's Curtis Davies and Harry Maguire but after Tom Huddlestone was sent off he managed to score twice in added time in the 4-0 win.

Both times the 23-year-old confidently beat goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, showing his questions over the club's ambition and refusal to sign a new contract have not affected his appetite for goals.

He now has 21 Premier League goals for the season, the first Everton player to break the 20-mark since Gary Lineker in 1986 - who subsequently left for Barcelona - and has equalled the great Bob Latchford's 1977-78 record of scoring in seven successive home matches.

"He is so powerful and nine times out of 10 you back him to score when he is through on goal and he showed that to grab two goals in the 90th minute," Calvert-Lewin told Press Association Sport.

"That is what differentiates a top player from not a top player.

"He found it tough for 90 minutes and in the last five he has scored two and that shows he is always on his toes and ready to go."

Lukaku's late intervention took some of the spotlight away from Calvert-Lewin whose first goal for the club in only his sixth appearance set Everton on their way to victory which was only secured by substitute Enner Valencia's 78th-minute strike.

It was the perfect way to mark his first start since early January after injury.

"I am over the moon. It has felt like an eternity to get back," he added.

"It is hard to describe really. I've run it through my head over and over again growing up as a kid so to finally do it I kind of got lost to be honest."

Everton's current home run of six successive league wins - 3-0, 4-0, 6-3, 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0 - has not been bettered since 1932 and has moved them level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal to open up the prospect of a late charge for Champions League qualification.

If they needed any added incentive the first two matches back after the international break are the Merseyside derby at Anfield and a trip to Old Trafford.

"We have the momentum behind us at the moment," said Calvert-Lewin.

"Our home record speaks for itself. We are very confident at home and we have shown that again.

"You play to finish as high in the table as you can but we have to focus on the next game and then the rest will take care of itself."

For third-bottom Hull, three points from safety, the problems continue to mount as they are set to be without Huddlestone for three matches against West Ham, Middlesbrough and Manchester City.

Manager Marco Silva has still to decide whether to appeal the red card even Everton counterpart Ronald Koeman thought was "harsh".

"He is a really important player for us, it gives us problems in the next games as well," said Silva of Huddlestone's pending absence.

After Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Manchester City, Everton are six points off the top four and Koeman believes that gives them a target to aim for.

"It always depends on yourself. We have made the first step," he said.

"We know our schedule and we now have an opportunity to come close to the teams above us but we play Liverpool and Manchester United away.

"Normally in football we would keep seventh position in the table and I would be happy but we can do more.

"It is all about Liverpool away and Man United away but I am happy we have a chance to climb the table."

The Dutchman was also pleased with the way Goodison reacted to Lukaku, singing his name before, during and after the game - following his outspoken comments in the week.

Despite the speculation the striker's time with the Toffees is limited after his rejection of the most lucrative contract in the club's history, Koeman has not yet given up hope of holding on to their record signing.

"I am happy for the fans who listened to me about his reception," he added.

"It was great and every Everton player needs support even in these situations.

"Everyone knows he is a professional and he will do everything he can until his contract ends and no one knows what will happen in the future.

"We like to keep our best players because we need them to make the best step but the final decision is normally by the player himself."

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