Calvert-Lewin Picturing More Success With 'Honest' Boss

by Paul McNamara @Everton

There cannot be many footballers with a picture of their manager on display at home.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, then, as is his wont, bucks a trend. The Everton attacker’s keepsake dates back to 2013, when he signed scholarship forms with Sheffield United, where David Unsworth was head of academy coaching.

Fast forward four years and Calvert-Lewin is backing Unsworth’s “honesty” to help Everton “start winning games”, as the 20-year-old revealed the qualities of the man who played a key role in bringing him to Merseyside.

First on the agenda for player and boss is Thursday night’s Europa League clash with crack Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in the south-east of France.

“Everyone is looking forward to trying to return to winning ways,” Calvert-Lewin tells evertonfc.com.

“The match at Chelsea showed we have those good performances in us, then in the second half against Leicester, they had a two-goal cushion but we were trying to break them down for the full 45 minutes and were the better side.

“If we can keep bringing that intensity and standard of play to our performances, then we will win games.”

Unsworth has been hugely instrumental in Calvert-Lewin’s express development. The youngster’s first port of call on joining Everton last August was the Club’s Under-23 squad, where, once more, he came under his former Sheffield United mentor’s tutelage.

Scarcely three months after signing on at Goodison Park, Calvert-Lewin was promoted into the Blues’ first-team squad. It was some leap for a player who arrived as a relative unknown and, more pertinently, knowing nothing of the environment or individuals around him.

Indeed, fewer than 12 months on from his existence on the fringes of Sheffield United's first team, Calvert-Lewin – defying footballing convention again – was scoring the goal which won England a first World Cup at any age-group level in 51 years.

He is one of a band of homegrown products currently making their mark at Everton under Unsworth. As such, he is perfectly placed to shine a light on the former Blues' defender’s methodology for converting raw, young footballers into frontline performers.

“He is good with a lot of the young lads,” said Calvert-Lewin. “I think it is probably his honesty, he will tell you when you are doing well, but he will tell you when you are not, too.

“He is there when you need to speak to him, from a young person’s point of view.

“I moved away from home and his door was always open. In that respect, he was very helpful when I came to the Club.

“My first games for Everton were with the Under-23s and he was the manager. It was him who brought me to the Club and showed belief in me, which was a massive thing for me at the time.

“He gave me confidence and brought the best out of me. He really helped me when I came here, I did not really know anyone and he helped me settle in.

“To have a familiar face here was good for me – and he helped me move into the first team.”

Unsworth has had scant opportunity to impart his messages on the training ground since assuming the Everton helm seven days ago.

Nevertheless, in the time he has spent with the boss across the past week, Calvert-Lewin has not detected any change in Unsworth’s approach, from that which served him so well when leading the Under-23s to last term’s inaugural Premier League 2 title.

The Yorkshire-born forward also insists it is vital that Everton’s fledgling talent recognise and seize the golden chance they are being afforded by their current manager.

“It is always good to see young players in the team,” said Calvert-Lewin. “Beni Baningime has done well when he has had his chance, so has Jonjoe Kenny.

“It is a case of showing we can all compete at this level – and the opportunity is here for us, right now. So, it is down to us to take it.

“I enjoyed working with Unsy a lot last season, with the Under-23s. He is still the same. Training sessions are upbeat and high intensity. Everyone is working hard. I think everyone is enjoying the sessions and that will boost our morale going into the game in Lyon.

“I know him well and I am looking forward to scoring goals under him.”

Calvert-Lewin finishes by firing off a few snapshot thoughts, encapsulating his precocious past, surreal present and a future full of ambition and promise.

“I remember when I signed my scholarship as an Under-16 – I still have the picture at home of me with Unsy and my parents,” he says.

“It is strange to think that a few years down the line I am here at Everton and he is managing me.

“Now we want to pick up performances, start winning games and see where that takes us.”

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