Lineker's Verdict On Two Key Everton Figures

Gary Lineker says Everton appointed one of the managerial “greats” in Carlo Ancelotti – and the Italian’s experienced hand can steer Dominic Calvert-Lewin towards reaching his tremendous potential.

Ancelotti penned a four-and-a-half-year deal when he took charge at Goodison Park back in December and two months later striker Calvert-Lewin committed his future to the Club until at least summer 2025.

Everton played 11 Premier League games under their new boss before the coronavirus shutdown, Calvert-Lewin starting all of them and scoring eight times.

Ancelotti came to Goodison trailing a formidable reputation after winning league titles in four European countries and claiming three Champions Leagues in an extraordinary career since accepting his first manager's job at Reggiana 25 years ago.

“He is one of the greats and you would put him in the top-10 of any managerial list,” Lineker told the Official Everton Podcast.

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“He has won it all, won four of Europe’s biggest leagues.

“It was a great coup for Everton to get Carlo.

“You can see he is already making a difference, he is a very smart guy.

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02:12

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“Management is a tough job but he is a lovely man as well and I think the players will really enjoy playing for him.

“You can compare his managerial record with anyone’s. It is sensational.

“And he has proved himself in all parts of Europe, which is not easy.”

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Calvert-Lewin was developing into a heavyweight leader of Everton’s attack when the rug was pulled from under his feet by football’s suspension in March.

He scored in three straight games before the Blues’ most recent match at Chelsea and provided the opening three goals of former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss Ancelotti’s reign in victories over Burnley and Newcastle United.

Moreover, the player signed from Sheffield United in August 2016, was bursting with confidence and aggression operating in combination with fellow centre-forward Richarlison.

Lineker, who hit 40 goals in his single Goodison Park campaign in 1985/86, has long identified a footballer of serious promise in Calvert-Lewin.

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02:39 Tue 02 Jun 2020

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But in Lineker’s view, the Yorkshireman’s recent consistency in front of goal has elevated him into an exclusive group of players competing for England striking spots.

Only three Englishmen have scored more than Calvert-Lewin’s 13 top-flight goals this term.

The 133 aerial battles he has won is fifth highest among Premier League strikers and he is joint-second on the list of most headed goals scored in the division with four.

Additionally, only two forwards have made more headed clearances than Calvert-Lewin’s 22.

“I like the way he is improving, he is combative, holds it up well and can get in the box,” said Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 appearances for England.

“He wasn’t scoring as prolifically as you’d like at the start [of Calvert-Lewin's time with Everton] but he was a young player – and with young players they either stay there and aren’t going to be quite good enough, or they move on.

“And he is moving on nicely.

“He is getting in good positions in the area and attacking space in the box. He is very good in the air and works so hard for the team, which is massively important.

“He has lots of potential.

“I like the way he speaks after games, he sounds bright and like he wants it.


“You have to have that massive drive.

“It is really promising.

“Having someone like Carlo Ancelotti with his experience behind him, hopefully, he will blossom and become a possible England striker if he keeps working at his game and keeps improving.

“He needs to continue scoring at the rate he was in the past few weeks [before football was halted].

“If you put the numbers on the board, you cannot be ignored.

“You have to score more than anyone else and that was the key for me.

“Whether it was for my team or in the league, whatever the competition, try to score more than anyone else.”

Everton - Howard's Way tells the full story of Howard Kendall's glorious trophy-winning team in the 1980s and tales from Merseyside during that era.

All proceeds from the documentary will go to fund The People's Place, Everton's purpose-built mental health facility close to Goodison Park.

Click here for details of how to watch Howard's Way.

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