Tag Archives: Dominic Calvert-Lewin

My 26-man England Euro 2020 squad

Today is the day that Gareth Southgate makes half the nation absolutely ecstatic and the other half furious as he names his England squad for this summer’s European Championships.

UEFA agreed to allow an extra three places in the squad for managers to add following a full campaign of a hectic schedule owing to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months or so.

That should make it a little bit easier to select a squad but there will still be some big names who miss out. While Southgate will name a provisional squad today, I wanted to see just how difficult it is to do and how different people will react, so this is my 26-man England squad for Euro 2020.

GOALKEEPERS

Jordan Pickford: The Everton stopper’s place as number one for the national team had come under doubt this season but Southgate has stuck by him for the most part and he will 100% be in the squad.

Dean Henderson: He’s always had great ability and has come through the youth ranks with England. Now as Manchester United’s number one, he has earned his place in the senior England team too.

Sam Johnstone: The third spot was sure to be Nick Pope’s, but the Burnley keeper needs knee surgery and is almost certain to be ruled out of the tournament. That means West Brom keeper Johnstone will get the chance to be part of the squad as the third choice.


DEFENDERS

Kyle Walker: Quite comfortably the best performing English right-back this season, Walker won the Premier League and is in the Champions League with Manchester City and deserves his spot. He also offers some flexibility if needed, having played as a centre-back at the 2018 World Cup too.

Reece James: A young right-back, James’ season started impeccably and while he didn’t keep that level throughout the season he wasn’t bad. Good going forward and excellent in a one-on-one situation with a great delivery, he deserves a chance.

Harry Maguire of England celebrates victory with team mate Luke Shaw following the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Albania and...

Trent Alexander-Arnold: The fact his spot in the squad is so in question is bonkers to me. He had a really tough first half of the season and was rightly left out of the last England squad, but since then he has been back to his brilliant best. He’s improved defensively and has an X-factor when going forward that should make him a shoe-in.

Ben Chilwell: Southgate’s first choice left-back for the most part has had a good debut campaign with Chelsea this season and could top it off by winning the Champions League. He’s decent at both ends of the pitch and this is one of the positions where the choices are pretty clear.

Luke Shaw: Quite comfortably the best left-back in the country this season, Shaw has seen an incredible resurgence in his career this season. He’s been fantastic going forward, with a career high of assists this season but also solid defensively and can even fill in as a third centre-back in a back three too so he’s in.

Harry Maguire: England’s best centre-back and a leader at the back, he’s had a very good season for Manchester United. Aerially he is dominant and while he has got a lack of pace, he knows how to play without it for the most part and shines for Southgate so will start so long as he recovers from his ankle injury.

John Stones: Another player who has seen a huge resurgence in their career this season, Man City have a lot to thank Stones for. While Ruben Dias picked up much of the plaudits (and rightly so), Stones shone next to him and his passing ability from the back should see him as a starter alongside Maguire with fitness permitting.

Fikayo Tomori of Ac Milan gestures during the Serie A match between Ac Milan and Cagliari Calcio. The match ends in a draw 0-0.

Ezri Konsa: While I don’t expect him to go, Konsa is more than deserving of a spot in the squad after the season he has had. Alongside Tyrone Mings, he has shown a fantastic ability in all aspects of defending as well as playing out from the back and in my eyes has outshone his centre-back partner. He has great pace to cover round and is good on the ball to build from the back too, meaning he’d fit into the squad brilliantly.

Fikayo Tomori: For sure a wildcard pick, but Tomori’s form since his January loan move to AC Milan can’t be ignored. He was brilliant in Serie A and the Europa League and caught the eye of everyone who paid any sort of attention. That means if Southgate was doing his job properly he’d have spotted him too, and he deserves an inclusion based on form and ability over Wolves captain Conor Coady.


MIDFIELDERS

Jordan Henderson: Arguably the biggest character in the camp, Henderson is an automatic pick if he’s fit. Great energy, leadership, solid defensively and a decent passing range too, he starts never mind gets included in the squad.

Declan Rice: Potentially the most important piece of the jigsaw in Southgate’s midfield, the West Ham man’s defensive qualities are something that only he brings to the squad. A fantastic tackler with great awareness, he will be key if England get into the latter stages to take on the better teams.

Jude Bellingham: Not many people will have had him down as getting into this squad at the start of the season, but the 17-year-old has been sensational for Borussia Dortmund and earned himself senior minutes earlier in this campaign. He has the ability to fulfil every midfield role and that fearlessness he brings to his game could be huge.

Kalvin Phillips: A fantastic ball playing defensive midfielder, Phillips has been a big part of Southgate’s plans in squads over the last year and he deserves his place in the side as the insurance policy in the centre.

Mason Mount: A real breakthrough campaign this season for Mount, who made himself indispensable for Chelsea and forced his way into the England setup too. Whether it be deeper or slightly more advanced, Mount is almost certain to start and will be included.

Phil Foden: England’s best young player since Wayne Rooney, he was key to Manchester City winning the league and making the Champions League final and is pushing for a starting spot never mind a place in the squad.

Bukayo Saka: The Arsenal man was one of very few bright sparks in a shocking season for the Gunners and his versatility could be absolutely vital for the squad. Able to play as a full-back, wing-back, winger or even central midfielder, he should find that gets him into the squad above anything else.


FORWARDS

Jack Grealish: One of the stand-out performers in the Premier League this season prior to his shin injury, Grealish more than deserves his place in the squad. Brilliant ball retention and manipulation, as well as a ball carrier, eye for a pass and top performances for Villa, he has to be in.

Harry Kane celebrates with Jadon Sancho of England during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on November...

Jadon Sancho: Strangely enough there are squads that don’t have Sancho involved and that just makes zero sense to me. A dazzling winger with pace, agility, a brilliant change of direction, goals and assists, he’s performed brilliantly for Dortmund after a slow start and deserves his spot.

Raheem Sterling: After Harry Kane, Sterling is probably the first attacker on the squad list for Southgate and he’s one of them for me too. While his season for Man City was somewhat underwhelming in comparison to previous campaigns, he has goals, assists and brilliant wing play and can play on either side. His quality is high and he’s a must-pick.

Marcus Rashford: The best season of his club career was slowed somewhat by injuries towards the end, but 20+ goals and 15+ assists in all competitions make him a sure-fire pick. He has that X-factor in one on one situations, has brilliant pace and skill, can play across the entire front three and is a good impact sub if he doesn’t start too.

Harry Kane: Well, duh. England’s best player by a distance, Kane is in the squad and I reckon he’ll play every minute of the tournament too.

Mason Greenwood of Manchester United celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 1-0 with Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match between...

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: Since Kane will likely play in every game and play most minutes, the secondary striker role is one that likely won’t be used much. Despite that, you need someone who is a presence on the pitch if they are needed and can score a variety of different goals, so the Everton man is the best pick.

Mason Greenwood: A wildcard pick again, but it’s rare that as a manager you have so much quality to choose from and have to leave someone out. But Greenwood’s quality with both feet, whether through the middle or out wide means he absolutely has to be in. There’s nobody I’d rather a chance fell to when I needed a goal outside of Kane and that’s enough to sway me.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin back firing for Everton after Lucas Digne’s return

Everton’s frantic cup tie with Tottenham saw them progress into the quarter-final of the competition with a 5-4 win after extra-time, in part thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin once again.

In an absolutely crazy game of football, Jose Mourinho’s team took the lead early on thanks to Davinson Sanchez’s header from a corner. They dominated most of the first half until Calvert-Lewin picked up on an error at the back and smashed past Hugo Lloris for his third goal in three games. Minutes later, Richarlison scored a low drive from the edge of the box to put Everton ahead before Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty to make it 3-3 just two minutes after that.

Erik Lamela was able to pull one back for Spurs just before half-time with a fine left footed strike from inside the box to make it 3-2. Sanchez got his second of the game with a tap in from another corner to make it 3-3 in the second half, before Richarlison scored again to make it 4-3 and then substitute Harry Kane equalised late on to send the game to extra time.

Everton retook the lead in extra-time thanks to Brazilian winger Bernard’s strike and it ended up being enough to seal progression into the next round for the Toffees.

Calvert-Lewin went off injured in the middle of the second half as a precaution but his performance particularly in the spell where Everton ran away with the game was very impressive.

Physically he is a unit, but he has a delicate first touch, great speed and is a very good finisher once in on goal whether it be with his feet or his head.

But recently he had been going through a tough patch in front of goal. He scored just once in eight games between the end of November and end of January, which just so happened to coincide with the absence of Lucas Digne at full-back.

The French left-back picked up an injury following the 3-2 win over Fulham in November, where he got two assists and Calvert-Lewin scored twice. He wouldn’t make his return to action for Everton until a cup game in January against Rotherham and wouldn’t share the pitch with the striker until the 27th of January.

In that time, Calvert-Lewin would score just twice. He equalised for the Blues in the 1-1 draw with Burnley before a six game drought that ended with a goal against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Since getting back on the pitch together, the 23-year-old forward has scored in each of his last three games now and looks set to get back on the track that saw him earn his England debut earlier this season.

He’s already matched his total for Premier League goals from last season and has already surpassed his best goalscoring season for all competitions too. He is en route for a 25 goal season in all competitions, which should be more than enough to secure him a place on the plane for Euro 2020.

The return to action of Digne and the return of form of Calvert-Lewin coinciding with each other isn’t a coincidence and Everton couldn’t be happier. They’re still in the race for top four with a game in hand and are now in the last eight of a cup competition.

With his mid-season dip seemingly over with and Digne back and flying again, Everton are gearing up for a great end to their season.

Why Everton WON’T Finish In The Top 4

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, Everton seem like a genuine threat to the top teams this season.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti brought in several players in key positions over the summer to strengthen the squad, spending over £70m in the process.

James Rodriguez joined from Real Madrid, Abdoulaye Doucoure joined from Watford for £25m, Allan signed from Napoli for a similar amount, as did Ben Godfrey from Norwich in central defence. They also signed goalkeeper Robin Olsen on loan from Roma to compete with Jordan Pickford while young defender Niels Nkounkou joined for a minimal fee at full-back.

The Toffees enjoyed their best start to a season since the 1890’s, winning the first seven games of their season in all competitions. They made it eight unbeaten with a hard-fought draw against the champions Liverpool too, before succumbing to back-to-back defeats in their two most recent games.

Everton v West ham United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round : News Photo

After their fantastic start many tipped them to make the top four, with the form of front three Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rodriguez making headlines. The interplay across the squad was strong, the team were solid defensively and everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet.

The last two games however have been indicative of why I believe Everton won’t make top four.

With James Rodriguez struggling for full fitness and Richarlison serving a three-game ban following his red card in the Merseyside derby, Everton have looked a lot like the side that lacked so much consistency last season.

Seamus Coleman suffered an injury and Lucas Digne got suspended recently too and all it did was show that Everton are severely lacking in depth and quality.

Their strongest lineup on paper can compete with every team in the league on its day. The steel and ability in a midfield trio of Allan, Doucoure and Andre Gomes is enough for big games to both control possession but also defend well, soak up pressure and counter attack if necessary. In defence, Coleman and Digne are one of the best full-back pairings in the league while Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have formed a solid partnership under Ancelotti too.

Once anyone drops out of that strongest side though, the quality drop between whoever it is and the replacement is shocking. Additionally, they also have a very different profile of player stepping in the majority of the time.

Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League : News Photo

It makes it difficult to maintain a genuine style of play beyond the first eleven players that start. It will ultimately be their downfall this season.

In a campaign where even the smaller sides are playing so regularly, a thin squad won’t be helpful. The likes of the big six will surely all eventually get their act together and they have enough in their squads to make changes regularly to keep players fresh and still not suffer a drastic drop in quality.

A win over Manchester United this weekend is very possible for Everton, even without taking into account the Red Devils’ current problems. But it doesn’t mean they’re goers for the top four for me.