Premier League • England

Benitez gives exciting Everton updates on Calvert-Lewin and January transfers

James Holland
Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates against Leeds, August 2021

Everton boss Rafa Benitez has given positive updates on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the club’s January transfer business.

England striker Calvert-Lewin started the campaign brightly, scoring in consecutive matches against Southampton, Leeds and Brighton. But he suffered a fractured toe in September and has been out ever since.

The Toffees have clearly been lacking a focal point in attack while he has been on the sidelines. Strike partner Richarlison hasn’t really stepped up, notching just three goals so far this term.

Everton have mainly had to rely on wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend for inspiration. The summer signings are both on five strikes as things stand.

Ahead of Everton’s clash against Brighton on Sunday, Benitez was asked about Calvert-Lewin. The Spaniard told a press conference (via Liverpool Echo): “Dominic is training with the team. One thing is match fitness, which you can improve playing games. Match fitness, we will see.

“Maybe he scores three goals in the first half and we don’t need to worry about his match fitness.”

He added: “I can say that it’s a massive signing for us for the second part of the league.”

On potential arrivals this winter, Benitez said: “We are working hard. We are trying to find some targets to improve the team.

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“Everybody knows how difficult January is. Everybody is a little bit worried about Covid, no-one wants to spend too much money. That is complicated.

“I am quite confident we will do two or three things.”

Benitez continued: “We are in contact with clubs but it’s not just me – the board are (also) looking for the right options. Not everybody has a lot of money to spend so we have to be careful when we buy, sell or loan players.”

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Benitez gives update on Everton Covid cases

Attention then turned to Covid cases in the Everton camp. “Do you know any family in England Covid-free? We are getting better. Obviously we’ve had issues, players with problems are coming back and training. We cannot give names, in terms of Covid we have less problems.”

The Merseyside club have had their last three league fixtures postponed. On the matter, Benitez said: “The problem here is that we were expecting to play. When you cancel a game, you have to change the plan for the team. You want to play, so mentally we are ready.”

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss also praised upcoming opponent Graham Potter. “We have to consider that managers need time. I think Graham Potter is doing a good job and he’s been there for around three years.

“At the moment they are in a good position and playing with a lot of confidence so I think it will be a tough game for us.”

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