DCL Feeling 'Sharper' After Sporting Winner

Dominic Calvert-Lewin says he is feeling sharper and relishing the prospect of a packed-out Goodison Park for Everton's Premier League opener against Fulham next weekend after netting the winner in the Blues' 1-0 win over Sporting CP.

The 26-year-old striker has ramped up his return from a hamstring injury in recent days, with 45 minutes in the behind-closed-doors clash with Italian side Monza in midweek before another 45-minute outing against the 19-time Portuguese champions Sporting on Saturday.

Calvert-Lewin, who notched the decisive goal via the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, says he and the squad can take confidence from their unbeaten record in pre-season, as focus switches to competitive action with the visit of Marco Silva's Fulham next up.

"I felt good, I felt sharp," he told evertontv. "It's another step in the right direction and, obviously, to get on the scoresheet as well - but for me getting 45 minutes behind closed doors was good and to be slowly building it up to the start of the season to be ready for Fulham [is my aim].

"I feel more confident now. 

"A game of football is there to be won, regardless of whether it's a friendly. I think we can take confidence from today. It was a solid performance personally and collectively and it's important to finish on a win in pre-season going into the competitive season."

Calvert-Lewin's cool spot-kick ensured the Toffees' win against Rúben Amorim's side, who arrived at Goodison Park unbeaten in six pre-season fixtures, including back-to-back 3-0 wins over Real Sociedad and Villarreal last week.

On his goal, Calvert-Lewin said: "I stick to my routine, stick to what I do in training and what I practise. 

"The last one I took [in the 2-2 draw at Leicester City] was under a bit more pressure at the back end of last season.

"I actually missed my last one at the Park End, in 2021, I think. It's a nice monkey off the back to put it in the back of the net."

A bumper crowd of 28,322 were at Goodison for Everton's clash with Sporting - and Calvert-Lewin says he has "missed" the stadium's unique atmosphere over the summer.

"There are Toffees everywhere, aren't there!" he added. "No matter where you go there will be Toffees. 

"We always appreciate the support. It spurs us on. 

"We were out in Evian and there were Toffees everywhere - and that goes for everywhere we go. We're always well supported and we're always grateful for that. 

"For me, personally, I'm looking forward to it being packed again against Fulham. I've missed that atmosphere here, so I can't wait. I'm very excited."