When Dominic Calvert-Lewin signed for Everton as a teenager, few would have expected him to become the player he is today.
Following the 2020/21 campaign, he joined an exclusive club at Goodison Park, one which contains just him, Romelu Lukaku and Yakubu in the Premier League era.
What is that club, I hear you ask? It’s one which involves scoring 20 goals in a single season for the Toffees.
Calvert-Lewin is one of the most difficult forwards to handle in the league, combining raw pace with an ability to beat any defender in the air. He found the net 21 times last season and formed part of England’s squad which reached the final of the recent European Championship.
But how do you make him better, especially in a summer where Rafa Benitez could witness Richarlison and James Rodriguez departing Goodison Park?
Everton’s main man is still only 24 years of age and thus has plenty of potential to improve going forward. Add a player like Leon Bailey or Dwight McNeil into the equation and his chances of scoring surely improve.
Rodriguez was a creative force for Everton last term, amassing the most key passes per game of any player in the squad. However, Richarlison struggled for assists, failing to supply a single goal for a teammate in 2021.
McNeil, on the other hand, could drastically improve on that and help Calvert-Lewin get better. The Burnley winger has been linked with a £25m move to Everton but they are facing competition from Aston Villa for his signature.
Dubbed “special” by Clarets teammate Ashley Westwood, McNeil possesses one of the most dangerous deliveries of the ball in the Premier League.
He is ranked in the 94th percentile for English top-flight players last term in terms of crosses into the penalty area. Furthermore, the young flanker is in the 97th percentile for passes from free-kicks and the 91st percentile for general crosses.
Factor in Calvert-Lewin’s height and this could be quite the combination for Everton next season. The Toffess striker didn’t exactly have the best service last term, so with a crosser as prolific as McNeil in the side, he could find the net even more regularly.
That should be a scary thought for Premier League defences.