Dominic Calvert-Lewin has nothing to fear as he enters the England squad and deserves to start against Wales following his “sensational” Everton form, according to former Toffees striker Tony Cottee.
Calvert-Lewin, who scored England’s winner when they lifted the 2017 Under-20 World Cup and has also played for the under-21s, is part of the senior squad for the first time ahead of a triple-header of matches starting with Thursday’s friendly against the Welsh at Wembley.
The 23-year-old forward took his record in all competitions for Everton this season to nine goals in six games on Saturday with a header in the 4-2 win over Brighton.
Signed from Sheffield United in 2016, Calvert-Lewin had scored a total of 16 Premier League goals up to boss Carlo Ancelotti taking charge of the Toffees last December – since then he has registered 14, including six this term.
His treble against West Brom last month made him the youngest Englishman to score a Premier League hat-trick for Everton.
Cottee, who was also 23 when he netted three times on his Everton debut in 1988, told the PA news agency: “I don’t think he has anything to fear, to be honest. He’s played for various age groups for England and done well.
“I’m really pleased for him because he’s started scoring the goals. When he first got in the team you could see there was a talented player there, but one thing missing was the goal-scoring.
“He has been sensational, and the most pleasing thing is he has been getting all sorts of goals. Internationally, he’ll go there full of confidence and in my opinion you give him a start, see how he does.”
After the Wales match, England play Nations League games, also at Wembley, against Belgium on Sunday and then Denmark three days later.
Cottee, who won seven England caps, said: “I’m a huge Harry Kane fan, but I’ve always believed when you get to a friendly, there’s no point playing a Harry Kane, because you know what he can do. What you should do is maybe look at different styles, and you should look at different players.
“You want to hold Harry back for the competitive games, and if that is the case, Dominic has got to be next man on the list, because of the start he has made to the season.
“I think he ticks all the boxes and I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t start the game. He thoroughly deserves to.
“He seems to be playing under a manager who believes in him, he believes in himself, and as a result, you get a confident player who goes on and gets lots of goals.”
With Calvert-Lewin and new signings like James Rodriguez having shone so far this season, Everton are currently top of the Premier League with 12 points from four games, and through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Cottee feels the fans should be “very excited”, and he added: “People say they have no chance of winning the Premier League – well, we said that about Leicester four years ago.
“I’m not saying Everton will win the league. But they’ve made a really good start and if they can continue with the consistency you need, Evertonians have every right to start dreaming of a good season, which for Everton would be to qualify for the Champions League.
“They have as good a chance as anyone (in the cup). To not win anything since 1995 is too long, and they’re overdue some success.
“If Everton can qualify for Europe or win a trophy, you’d be looking at a really good season, and with the new stadium coming as well, you have the platform to go on and really make the club a major force again, which is where they should be.”