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Dominic Calvert-Lewin: Everton striker’s return to fitness holds key to Premier League survival hopes | Football News

Everton, nine-time champions of England, are a club teetering on the brink. This Sunday’s visit to Nottingham Forest, live on Sky Sports, already feels season-defining but the likelihood is they will again be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Sean Dyche’s side remain in the Premier League relegation zone, one point adrift of Leeds in 17th. There is still time, but allowing a rival to move seven points clear even in March is unthinkable to the Evertonians who have been pushed from pillar to post.

There was plenty of endeavour, exertion and not shortage of resistance on show in the first half of Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat at Arsenal, but the familiar outcome on the road has placed increased pressure on the trip to the East Midlands.

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How they could do with a fully fit and firing Calvert-Lewin, scorer of 21 goals under Carlo Ancelotti two seasons ago. Since then, it has been one setback after another.

It was in dispatching a penalty against Brighton in August 2021 that the striker’s injury problems first arose. It was the third successive game in which Calvert-Lewin had scored, helping Everton sit joint-top of the table.

In an interview with Sky Sports in February last year, the now 25-year-old reflected on what would turn out to be a season filled with frustration as Everton slid down the table.

There was such a big emphasis on me coming back,” he said. “The results not being great just made me want to return and help the team, but I think I set unrealistic expectations of myself and that was difficult to deal with mentally.

“You underestimate how long four or five months is to have out. You come back in the middle of a season and everyone else is up to speed. I underestimated how difficult it would be.”

Whether it be a fractured toe, a quadriceps injury or a troublesome knee, Calvert-Lewin has had to call on the mental fortitude he has built by speaking to friends and family.

In a social media…


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