Dominic Calvert-Lewin says he is relishing his run as Everton’s main striker and wants to prove he can shoulder the “great responsibility” of being the Blues’ number nine long-term.
Calvert-Lewin has started Everton’s past four games and claimed man-of-the-match honours for his powerful display against Chelsea on Sunday.
The attacker provided a dependable outlet for his side, employing his physicality and speed to ruffle the visiting backline and forcing Chelsea on the retreat with his direct and purposeful running.
Calvert-Lewin was denied a third goal in four matches only when away goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga pawed out the 22-year-old’s header for Richarlison to nod in the rebound and put Everton ahead.
“I have played in my favourite position for the past few games and like to think I am proving what I can do up there with my performances,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“I am helping the team get good results and hitting the back of the net.
“There is pressure [which accompanies being Everton striker], you have to lead the line and that comes with great responsibility.
“I will take that on my shoulders… I am happy to be doing it.
“If I want to get to where I want to be, and score a lot of goals for Everton, I have to take on that responsibility... in my past few performances I have shown I am capable of doing that.”
Calvert-Lewin emerged from the Goodison Park tunnel on Sunday to the sight of a banner in the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End honouring six iconic Everton centre-forwards.
And Dixie Dean, Dave Hickson, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Graeme Sharp and Duncan Ferguson would all surely have given their seal of approval to the performance of a player who celebrated his birthday one day before the game.
Calvert-Lewin had three shots – fewer than only three players in the weekend’s Premier League fixtures – and contested 22 duels, a number matched only by Richarlison among the game’s starters.
The former Sheffield United player ran seven miles and completed 14 sprints, second only to the indefatigable Richarlison’s 26.
Gylfi Sigurdsson wrapped up a victory over Chelsea which means Everton have banked seven points from their past four games.
And Calvert-Lewin drew far more satisfaction from overcoming the capital team than he had scoring but finishing on the losing side at Newcastle United eight days earlier.
Moreover, he insisted Everton will not want for motivation in the season's final months after moving within sight of Wolverhampton Wanderers in seventh.
“Consistency and momentum are key now,” said Calvert-Lewin. “We proved that if we do what we are capable of, we can win games – even against a team of Chelsea’s quality.
“We are all aware it is not good to be winning, then losing. We want to go on winning streaks and build momentum, which we can after the Chelsea game.
“There are seven games left and we have to try to win all of them.
“It was important we put in a good performance against Chelsea after last week [at Newcastle].
“I was happy with how I played. I wasn’t on the scoresheet but we got the three points and all the lads were buzzing."
Everton’s next test comes in the shape of a trip to West Ham United on 30 March, with Calvert-Lewin set for England Under-21 games against Poland and Germany in the meantime.
The Blues welcome Arsenal and Manchester United to Goodison next month and travel to Tottenham Hotspur before the season is out.
“I thoroughly enjoy playing against the big sides, I like the challenge and putting in good performances against big teams,” added Calvert-Lewin.
“Chelsea have quality from back to front but we managed the game very well.
“The manager said at half-time we needed to completely change how we were playing to get a result and you could see we did that.
“He told us to be more confident on the ball and more composed. We set the tempo in the first five minutes of the second half and showed what you can do when you put pressure on good teams.”