Wayne Rooney believes Dominic Calvert-Lewin has “a big future” at Everton - and England’s record goalscorer has revealed he will do all he can to help the youngster fulfil his burning potential.
Calvert-Lewin netted for the fourth time this season in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup meeting with Chelsea, having grabbed a brace in the previous round against Sunderland to add to his Europa League strike against MFK Ružomberok.
And while he is yet to register in the Premier League in 2017/18, the 20-year-old - scorer of England’s winning goal in the Under-20 World Cup final against Venezuela in June - has laid on two for Rooney in games against Stoke and Manchester City.
Rooney has understandably been impressed by what he has witnessed from his younger teammate, and says he will continue passing on all he has learned over a glittering 15-year career to the former Sheffield United starlet.
“I think Dominic has got so much ability and so much energy,” Rooney told The Everton Show. “Physically he is really imposing on defenders and he has a big future here at Everton.
“If he keeps learning the way he is and at the speed he is, then he won’t just be the future, he will be the now, the present, where we’ll be calling on him in games.
“He works hard in training, in the gym - I think he just needs that bit of luck to get that goal in the Premier League and that will kick him on.
“Certainly, up until now he’s shown great signs and he’s a great lad, too. And that’s what you want.
“I speak to him a lot about different things in his game and different things in my game. If we’re playing together, we discuss different runs we might make and how we can help each other.
“I think it is important for him that I can help him get better at that but also for me to try to understand more each time we play together about the way he plays.”
As well as leading the line in a number of games this season, Calvert-Lewin has also demonstrated his versatility.
Against Stoke he operated in the first half as a right wing-back and he has also played across the park behind the lead striker.
Rooney believes those experiences will help build his game and has no doubts the youngster possesses the attributes to adapt to whatever role he is asked to fill.
“I think what people don’t realise is how strong he is,” added Rooney. “He’s tall and thin but so strong and I think defenders are starting to realise that now and be a bit more physical with him, and that’s where he can use his pace to his advantage. If they get too tight to him then he’s got the speed to get away from them.
“I think he is still learning the game - knowing when to hold the ball up or knowing the right time to run in behind or to come short to feet - but [when he has that] he’ll be a big player for us.”
Rooney’s aforementioned strike against Manchester City was his 200th in the Premier League, while he is now just 31 appearances short of reaching 500 in the competition.
And the forward, who turned 32 on Tuesday, understands it is part of his remit as a senior member of the squad to bring on those looking to follow in his distinguished footsteps.
“I think it’s part and parcel of your role as a player that has played in high profile games and a lot of games,” he said. “It’s part of my role to help them now.
“It’s a small part in which I feel I can help but the main part is doing well as a team and we all have to help each other to improve results in the coming weeks.”