Dominic Calvert-Lewin admits getting back on the scoresheet for Everton on Monday night has given him a huge confidence boost.
The forward won and dispatched the opening goal from the penalty spot in Monday night’s 2-2 draw at Leicester City, handing him his first Premier League strike since the 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace in October after having his campaign impacted by injuries.
It was a deserved lead for the Toffees who edged an enthralling contest at King Power Stadium. Despite that, Sean Dyche’s side were forced to dig deep as they found themselves 2-1 down at the break having conceded quick-fire goals from Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy.
Alex Iwobi levelled up proceedings early in the second half, though, and the Blues would have taken all three points if it wasn’t for Leicester City goalkeeper Daniel Iversen who was in inspired form.
“I didn’t realise we’d created so many shots on goal,” said Calvert-Lewin told evertonfc.com upon finding out the Blues had created 23 chances; 18 of which came inside the box. That is Everton’s second-highest number of shots from inside the penalty area since such data became available in the 2014/15 campaign.
“I know myself I had a few shots, I probably should have put another one way. It took a little touch off the defender and my concentration wasn’t right, but nine times out of 10 they go in. I back myself for the next one. Even if it comes off my shin and goes in.”
Monday was the second time in as many matches that Everton’s No.9 has put the ball in the back of the net - albeit the one last week against Newcastle was ruled out for a marginal offside.
“The goal was great for my confidence, personally. Even last week [against Newcastle], although the goal didn’t count, to be getting back into those areas and getting the ball to hit the back of the net again, it has been great.
“It’s been a while since I last took a penalty, and I didn’t put that one away so that was a monkey off my back.
"I've not been able to go over to the fans for a while at a packed-out away end. It's what I do it for, it's what I love, it's why I play football and to put one in the back of the net and be able to run over to the fans it's what I've dreamed of for so long. It was a great feeling."
Calvert-Lewin has now started each of Everton’s past three Premier League matches after returning from his 10-game absence through injury. Looking sharp and growing in confidence, he successfully navigated each of those contests and says it has been a relief being able to positively contribute to helping the team once again after spending so long out of action.
“I’m pleased with my return to the team so far,” he explains. “I live and breathe what I do. Even when I have been away, I have been working hard to make sure I come back in the best condition possible.
“So for me, from the Palace game to the Leicester game, I have got better and better. That’s normal with gaining match sharpness and match fitness. You can’t replicate without playing games.”
He added: “I am growing in confidence, my fitness is improving, sharpness is coming back … it’s been a long time coming and I am delighted to be back on the pitch.
“Especially helping the lads, because when you can’t affect it, you feel helpless watching from home. I am thoroughly enjoying being back and I think you can see that in my performances.”