Speaking exclusively with Football FanCast, former England international Steve Howey has claimed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hamstring injury will be a “huge blow” for Everton.
Carlo Ancelotti has ruled Calvert-Lewin out for this Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Fulham, after being forced to withdraw the striker during the second-half of Wednesday night’s 5-4 FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur.
The 23-year-old had scored the Toffees’ first of the game to draw his side level and mark his 18th goal in all competitions, before recording his third and fourth assists of the season.
Ancelotti has stated that he and the club believe the England international will be available for Everton’s next game, at home to title-chasers Manchester City, on Wednesday night.
But Howey says that the Blues must manage his return carefully, as losing Calvert-Lewin for a lengthy period of time will be devastating for the club’s hopes of a top-four finish.
“It will be a huge blow [losing Calvert-Lewin]. You have to be so careful with these injuries,” he told FFC. “He’s had a ridiculously good season. Started off on fire, kind of just quietened a tiny, tiny little bit and then he’s come [on form] again.
“I was at the game when Everton played Leeds and Calvert-Lewin scored the winner in that. [I’ve been] so impressed with his hold up play, every aspect of his game has improved. So, it will be a blow but Everton have just got to be careful on the management of that.
“Obviously, as a player, you want to be back as soon as possible. But I think sometimes you, well all the time, especially with these injuries, you’ve got to make sure that you’re right. Because it will just go again, it’ll go again, and it’ll go again.
“But Everton are doing really well under Ancelotti. Obviously, they’ve got Richarlison there, they’ve got [Alex] Iwobi, they’ve got [James] Rodriguez, [Gylfi] Sigurdsson’s doing quite well [but they’re not the same as Calvert-Lewin].”
Calvert-Lewin’s hamstring injury is his second of the season so far, after missing last month’s FA Cup tie with Rotherham and Premier League victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Cenk Tosun led the line in Calvert-Lewin’s place against Rotherham and scored the opening goal, but has since returned to Besiktas on loan and been replaced at Goodison Park by Joshua King who is yet to score a league goal this season.
Ancelotti opted against fielding an out-and-out striker against Wolves with Rodriguez and Sigurdsson instead tasked with playing as two false nines, in a decision that did not pan out perfectly with Iwobi relied on to provide much of his side’s attacking threat from the right-wing.
Meanwhile Richarlison, who only played the final quarter of an hour at Molineux having also missed the Rotherham tie, is Everton’s current second-best scorer with eight goals across all competitions after a brace against Spurs but is without a league strike in seven games.