Dominic Calvert-Lewin says he is “proud and emotional” to sign a new five-year deal with Everton – and “ready to live up to the expectations” which accompany wearing the Club’s fabled number nine shirt.
Calvert-Lewin, whose deal keeps him with Everton until at least June 2025, is in prolific form and credits the influence of boss Carlo Ancelotti and assistant manager Duncan Ferguson for a run of eight goals in 13 games.
The 22-year-old admitted winning trophies with Everton would “mean that bit more… because of the journey I have been on with Everton and Evertonians”, since joining from Sheffield United in 2016 – and the belief is “well and truly there” the Club can “compete with the best” under Ancelotti.
Calvert-Lewin asked to wear nine on his back this term – and revealed he wanted the jersey 12 months earlier – but confessed it started to fit comfortably only after his two-goal battering-ram display against Chelsea back in December.
Former Blues striker Ferguson was in caretaker charge as Everton beat Frank Lampard’s team 3-1.
“I am in a very privileged position to be Everton’s number nine, I wear it with pride and enjoy it every time I pull on the shirt,” Calvert-Lewin told evertontv.
"This is a very proud day. It is emotional, really.
“I wasn’t born here but I love where I am and the position I am in and I love playing for Everton Football Club.
“The game where I showed people what I was capable of was against Chelsea under Duncan.
“It was a big game and in big games big players come to the fore.
“As a striker you are judged on your goals and the shift for me has been getting into areas where I will score more.
“I feel much more at home in the box and in front of goal now.
"I am going on the pitch fully believing I am going to score in every game. I know that won’t always be the case, but that is part the battle, believing in the first place.
“Duncan has been fantastic with me this season.
“I have worked closely with him since I stepped up into the first team, a lot of the work I’ve done in the shadows has been with Duncan.
“I would say Duncan was the catalyst for our fortunes changing and I reaped the rewards from the belief he put in me straight away.
“He was asking my opinion on certain things, which I’d never had before, in regards of how we wanted to play and how I prefer to play.
“Probably in that moment, I felt like Everton’s number nine.
“I wasn’t ready when I first asked for it [in pre-season ahead of 2018/19].
“I am well aware of how much I need to improve and how much better I can do.
“But I like to think I have shown now I am ready… and living up to the expectations of being Everton’s number nine.”
Calvert-Lewin is the second talented young Everton player this week to commit his future to the Club after Mason Holgate put pen to paper on a five-year contract on Tuesday.
Manager Ancelotti insisted tying down two of the hottest young Premier League properties was a significant boon in his attempts to restore Everton to the high end of domestic and European football.
And Calvert-Lewin says having three-times Champions League winning boss Ancelotti at the helm is bleeding confidence into the team.
“The belief in ourselves that we are back up there and can compete with the best is well and truly there,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“And with a man like Carlo leading the ship it makes it easier for us to believe in the process.
“We want to be in Europe and competing in the top competitions.
“It would mean that bit more [winning trophies with Everton] because of the journey I have been on with Everton and Evertonians.
“It feels personal and that is how I like it.
“The whole city lives and breathes football.
“Especially Everton fans.
“I have lived and breathed football since I was a kid and felt at home straight away when I came to Liverpool and to win trophies for Everton would be a massive, massive achievement.
“The fans want it and the players want it.
“It is about coming together and truly believing in what we we can achieve.”
Calvert-Lewin is the Premier League’s leading marksman since Boxing Day after firing eight goals in 10 games.
He has scored 13 times in the top-flight this season and 15 goals in all competitions.
The player's growing penalty-box prowess adds to a combative game infused with a cocktail of raw power, finesse and aerial ability.
And Calvert-Lewin admits he’s keen to one day see his face next to a selection of his illustrious Everton striking predecessors on the walls of the Club’s USM Finch Farm training complex.
“If I continue like I am and keep hitting the net and things fall into place, I would like to be up there with those fantastic names,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“Playing for a club like Everton… is a special feeling – scoring goals in front of the Gwladys Street [is special].
“To be able to stay longer is what I worked for and I am very excited.
“You see the momentum we have at the moment and the buzz around the place.
“It has been enjoyable since the start [of his Everton career] and I am enjoying every day coming into training and every minute on the football pitch.
“And I think that is showing with my performances and the goals I am getting.
“Everton is where I want to be and I am enjoying my football.
“The supporters have given me some special, special moments.
“You grow up dreaming of people cheering you and that is what I cherish.
“I have worked very hard get here and it has always been my dream to be exactly where I am."
Calvert-Lewin continued: “The best thing about the city is how emotional and involved in football it is.
“When you are doing well and scoring goals, believe me, it is the best feeling ever to walk round and be among it.
“It adds to the feeling on the pitch,
“When things are going well there is not a better feeling in the world.”
Calvert-Lewin’s sparkling form has inevitably led to speculation over an England call.
Gareth Southgate’s side are poised for friendlies against Italy and Denmark later this month as they ramp up preparations for the summer’s European Championship.
“I have proved I can score goals but it is about doing it consistently and I want to get to that next level,” added Calvert-Lewin.
“If you keep scoring goals as a striker you like to think you would be considered on the international stage.
“I have grown up in a football family so to play for my country would be a proud, proud, day for me and for them.”