Few can question Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s potential to be a brilliant forward.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti recently stated his belief that the 22-year-old can become one of the top strikers in England and Europe.
The former Sheffield United player looked rejuvenated after Ancelotti’s appointment and scored three times in the Italian’s first two games in charge at Goodison Park.
In the three matches that followed, though, Calvert-Lewin drew blanks before eventually finding the net once again in the 1-1 draw at West Ham.
Although not exactly a ‘barren run’, the three-game drought may have some worrying connotations.
Since making his debut in 2016, the best way to sum up Calvert-Lewin’s time as a Premier League striker is ‘streaky’.
So often will the lanky frontman will put in a series of terrific goal-scoring performances, but fail to build on them in the weeks that follow.
This season has been no exception for Calvert-Lewin – a goal in mid-September against Bournemouth kick-started a run of five goals in five appearances in all competitions, which was inevitably followed by a six-game goalless run.
Following Ancelotti’s arrival, Calvert-Lewin enjoyed a productive end to December finding the net three times in two matches thanks to a brace against Newcastle.
However, three 90-minute periods without a goal ensued before the West Ham game, leaving Calvert-Lewin with a tally of 11 for the season.
Not an abysmal total at this stage in the campaign by any means, but when compared to other Premier League strikers in Calvert-Lewin’s age range it makes for worrying reading.
With the South-Yorkshireman turning 23 in March, he finds himself in a bracket of forwards that are beginning to mature and consistently score goals.
Fellow countrymen Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford are in fact a few months younger than Calvert-Lewin and yet have found the yet far more than the Everton man this season.
Abraham has bagged 15 times for Chelsea in all competitions this term, while Manchester United’s Rashford has hit 19.
With younger English forwards outscoring Calvert-Lewin, and Southampton’s albeit more senior striker Danny Ings in tremendous form, it makes Alan Shearer’s claim that the Toffee’s player could make his nation’s Euro 2020 squad seem ever-more unrealistic – even if Harry Kane is ruled out through injury.
Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, also 22, is another that has bettered Calvert-Lewin’s record, with 14 goals to his name despite a number of his appearances coming from the Manchester City bench.
Even Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, an 18-year-old, has scored just two goals less than Calvert-Lewin across all senior competitions.
Despite these concerning statistics, Ancelotti’s claims that his centre-forward can become one of the best around are well-founded.
Calvert-Lewin has proved he can score all sorts of goals at the top level, and is simply lacking a consistent edge to his game.
It should also be considered that he has been playing in a largely poor Everton team over the last few seasons and hasn’t always been a regular starter.
Perhaps he has simply been lacking the faith of a manager such as Ancelotti to realise his undoubted potential.
Over the remainder of the season he must repay that faith though and begin to eliminate the lengthy goalless runs that have defined his career so far – the next six months will determine whether he is to become one of the Premier League’s elite, or just another ‘could’ve been’.