Everton warned they face relegation if Sean Dyche keeps pinning hopes on return of injury-plagued star

Sean Dyche Liverpool v Everton

Gary Neville has warned new boss Sean Dyche that he could end up leading Everton towards relegation if he keeps pinning his hopes on the return of injury-lagued frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The 25-year-old England striker has endured another injury-hit campaign with just nine starts in the Premier League so far this term and has only notched one goal in that time.

That solitary strike came against Crystal Palace back in October and is a far cry from the 21 goals he scored in all competitions during the 2020/21 campaign. That tally was followed up by only five goals last term and now just one this time around.

And speaking after the end of Everton’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday evening, Neville insists the Toffees need to stop thinking that Calvert-Lewin will return and get them out of a massive hole.

Neville told Sky Sports: “They’ve [Everton] got to stop talking about Dominic Calvert-Lewin, it’s as if they’re waiting for something to sort of save them – it might never come.

“They’ve got to get [Neal] Maupay playing, the boy [Ellis Simms] tonight I think it might have been beneficial for him to have a partner up there with him – it’s tough playing on your own, it’s the toughest position to play up front, on your own, other than goalkeeper I think.

“For me, this idea that they always mention, ‘when we get Calvert-Lewin back we’ll be okay,’ no you won’t. You can’t wait for him. You’ll be relegated if you’re waiting for him.”

Dyche not too downbeat after derby defeat

Dyche‘s men are now a point from safety after the derby defeat. They have also scored the fewest goals in the Premier League throughout the campaign, with just 16 to their name in 22 matches.

The Toffees face massive clashes Leeds, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest over the next few weeks in their bid to pull away from trouble.

However, it remains to be seen if Calvert-Lewin will be fit enough to return. To that end, Dyche will have to go with either Simms, who started at Anfield, or the more experienced Maupay instead.

And while Dyche admitted he did not overreact after the win over Arsenal, he was not too downbeat over the derby defeat.

He said: “The players have taken a lot on board so I am not going to be too critical. They have been working very hard, very diligently.

“I know the importance of this game to Evertonians but, on paper, you’d take three points from these first two games. That’s a start point.

“I don’t remember being too high after we beat the leaders. I was quite balanced about it and I’m quite balanced tonight.”

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