Everton manager Frank Lampard is “not worried at all” about Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park.
Calvert-Lewin was superb for Everton last season, scoring 16 Premier League goals, but has endured an injury hit campaign this time around.
The 25-year-old has only scored three goals, with all of those coming in the opening three matches of the season, while two of them were from the penalty spot.
Rafael Benitez wanted to continue the trend set by Carlo Ancelotti and make Calvert-Lewin the focal point of Everton’s attack, but having played with a broken toe throughout August, the forward suffered a serious quad injury that resulted in him missing over four months of action.
Calvert-Lewin returned in early 2022, towards the end of Benitez’s ill-fated tenure, but has been unable to string together a run of form for Lampard as Everton have battled for their Premier League survival.
The England international came on as a substitute in Everton’s 0-0 draw at Watford on Wednesday, a result that left the Toffees two points above the relegation zone with three games remaining.
Arsenal and Newcastle United are said to hold an interest in Calvert-Lewin, with Everton likely to have to cash in on at least one of their prized assets even if they avoid the drop.
Yet Lampard has no concerns about such speculation, or the attitude of Everton’s number nine.
“He is a fantastic striker, the pedigree of striker that there aren’t many around. It’s been unfortunate for me, I think, that I haven’t had him fit,” Lampard told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash with Brentford, in which a win or potentially even a draw may be enough to see Everton safe, depending on Leeds United’s result against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“He’s had little moments but we know that strikers need runs of games and fitness and confidence. We’ve never been able to get that for Dominic to be fair to him.
“But yes, he’s a huge player, they are not very common. He is contracted to us, three years left on his contract, and I want to take this club forward and players like Dominic help that.
“I know he hasn’t been playing at the minute because he’s been getting fit, but now he’s fit, so hopefully he will contribute in the last few games for starters and then he’s our player.
“He’s a player that would be wanted by clubs because of the level of player he is. There are not many strikers out there, they cost a lot of money. I’m not worried about him at all.”
Everton provided Calvert-Lewin with 31 big chances (as defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would reasonably be expected to score) last season, and he scored from 14 of them.
This season, however, Calvert-Lewin has only been provided with three big chances from open play, one of which he converted, in an opening-day win over Southampton, as Everton have struggled for creativity.
Indeed, only Norwich City (27) have crafted fewer big chances than Everton (28) this season.