Dominic Calvert-Lewin has pointed to Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival at Everton as the key factor behind his stunning form that has earned him a first England call-up.
The 23-year-old has scored nine goals already this season, including two hat-tricks, as the Toffees have soared to the top of the Premier League table and progressed to the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
“Carlo has definitely had a positive influence on me,” said Calvert-Lewin on Tuesday.
“To have a manager who has worked with top players, top strikers, who have played in my position, it’s always nice to know that when he is giving me information, he’s coached these players before so it’s important I take it on board.
“He’s enabled me to fine-tune my game and told me to focus on different things and be the focal point. He’s told me I’ve got the ability to do it, to be the main man and lead the line.”
Former Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss Ancelotti took charge at Everton last December and has encouraged Calvert-Lewin to be more like one of his former players, prolific Italian striker Filippo Inzaghi.
Famously described as being “born offside” by former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, Inzaghi was a predatory poacher, who scored more than 200 goals for Milan and Juventus.
“Before, I was guilty of doing a lot of my best work away from the goal. Now I’m focusing on getting in between the sticks and putting the ball in the back of the net,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“That analogy from Carlo was more with an emphasis on being in the right place at the right time, not to say I’m a carbon copy of Pippo Inzaghi.
“There are elements of his game I’m showing in my game at the minute and it’s the one-touch finishes and putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Calvert-Lewin is in line to make his international debut when England face Wales in a friendly on Thursday, with Gareth Southgate promising not to field captain Harry Kane in all of three matches in the space of seven days.
The Three Lions face Belgium on Sunday then Denmark the following Wednesday in the Nations League.
Southgate’s squad has been depleted after a delay in the arrivals of Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell, pending an investigation.
All three attended a surprise birthday party for Abraham on Saturday that broke coronavirus protocols over gatherings of more than six people.
Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were also sent home from international duty last month after breaking Covid-19 rules in Iceland.
“It’s a tough situation but they’ve apologised so you have to move on,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“We had a welcome meeting (on Monday) and (Southgate) just reminded us what it means and the expectations of playing for England and you have to be extra, extra careful and follow the rules.
“It’s a unique moment in time and we always have to be extra attentive to those rules, and that’s the way it is when you’re representing your country.”