These articles are dual-focused, analysing a player’s role within their club from a footballing perspective before considering whether that information translates into them being a viable consideration for our FPL teams. Today’s instalment discusses Leicester City midfielder James Maddison.
Following a run of ten consecutive starts during the latter stages of the Premier League season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin appears to have laid claim to Everton’s lone starting striker berth. First team coach Duncan Ferguson indicated as much last month, believing that the 22 year-old has “locked himself” into that role.
Calvert-Lewin’s physical strengths certainly suit Marco Silva’s typical first choice striker as a player very capable of running in behind as well as competing aerially to bring teammates into play. At Hull, Silva acquired Oumar Niasse on loan to do a similar job and he went on to appear in all but one of their remaining fixtures, the exception being against parent club Everton. Six months later, he made Andre Gray Watford’s record signing for £18 million, somewhat controversially taking game time away from talismanic captain Troy Deeney. On both occasions, pace has been a very favourable attribute for the Portuguese manager’s first choice striker and that appears to be the case at Everton too.
Consequently, Cenk Tosun started just ten matches all season and just five of the final 33. Silva’s made his dissatisfaction with Tosun’s style clear by utilising Richarlison as a striker on 11 occasions and it was only when Calvert-Lewin’s began to emerge as the main striker that the Brazilian returned to his favoured wide role. The situation is clear – Calvert-Lewin is the preferred option and will enjoy a regular run of starts as long as Everton do not invest heavily in that department this summer.
The area that the England Under-21 international needs to work on in order to avoid being replaced is scoring goals. Across the last two seasons, he has managed just over the equivalent of a full 38-game season of 90 minute appearances. During those 3640 minutes, he has found the net on ten occasions, suggesting that his rate will need to increase to ensure a double figure return.
Sides around Everton certainly possess more clinical strikers as in 2018/19, Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez scored 18 and 13 Premier League goals respectively. The make-up of Everton’s squad does ease the burden on Calvert-Lewin due to Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison’s ability as goalscoring midfielders, more so than at Leicester or Wolves who can perhaps only look to James Maddison and Diogo Jota in that regard. But even with that in mind, Everton could do with Calvert-Lewin becoming more clinical as they aim for a European spot next season.
Whether he is able to do so next season or needs more time to develop will be crucial from an FPL perspective. As discussed in the fixture analysis article, Everton’s opening fixtures may not be as mouth-watering as they first appear, but there is no ignoring the fact that they avoid a top six opponent until Gameweek 7. By Gameweek 1, the Premier League transfer deadline will have shut and therefore the extent of Calvert-Lewin’s competition up front will be apparent.
Based on his performances over the last two seasons, Calvert Lewin’s price should come in at around £6.0m. His combined 2017/18 and 2018/19 points tallies and rate of direct goal involvements are similar to those of Callum Wilson across 2016/17 and 2017/18, who was given a £6.0m valuation back in July. However, it is worth remembering that Calvert-Lewin is part of a higher achieving side than Bournemouth, which could see an extra £0.5m added to his price tag. Nonetheless, if he does manage a season anything like Wilson’s 2018/19, an FPL bargain and senior international recognition could be on the cards.
To summarise, Calvert-Lewin has all the hallmarks of a top-class Premier League centre-forward aside from one, scoring goals. At 22, he certainly has time on his side and a run of ten consecutive starts towards the end of 2018/19 suggests that the shirt is his to lose. With FPL midfielders Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane set to be given premium price tags, Calvert-Lewin looks set to be a perfect budget enabler for our frontlines next season.