Dominic Calvert-Lewin believes Duncan Ferguson would not begrudge him a goal in Friday’s Auld Enemy derby, despite the former Scotland striker playing a major role in him becoming an England international.
Ferguson has acted as a mentor to the 24-year-old and built Everton’s attack around the striker during his brief spell as caretaker manager in late 2019, which convinced his successor Carlo Ancelotti to do the same.
Calvert-Lewin subsequently went on a fine run of scoring, hitting 10 goals in 13 league games, which earned him his first England call-up and he has been a key player at Goodison Park ever since.
Now at his first international tournament, he insists that even though Ferguson is a proud Scot, his mentor will be delighted if he scores in Friday’s meeting of the two historic rivals at Wembley.
“I think he’d be very happy for me. It’s well known that he’s been a massive influence on me at Everton and he’s just wished me well,” Calvert-Lewin said.
“He texted me before our first game the other day, just saying, ‘All the best for the tournament and he wants me to score regardless of who it is against.’”
Calvert-Lewin would not go as far as to dedicate any goal to Ferguson, who earned a reputation as a physical, intimidating hard man during his playing days, but is grateful for all the advice and help he has given him.
“I probably wouldn’t [dedicate a goal to him] but I do owe a lot to Big Dunc and what he’s done for me in my career so far,” he added.
“He’s a great fella and people get him wrong sometimes. He’s quite cool and calm and collected so I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to it as much as me.”
When asked what specifically Ferguson has taught him, Calvert-Lewin said: “I think more just from a mental aspect of the game as a young player coming into the Premier League and Everton’s first team.
“You are under the magnifying glass straight away so I was learning on the job early doors and Duncs has been with me every step of the way from there onwards until today.
“Not to mention the extra finishing drills after training, he’s always been the man there that’s taken that and put his time aside to help me perfect my craft. I can do nothing but thank him for that.”
After their painful defeat to the Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Monday, Scotland will be even more motivated to kick-start their first men’s tournament appearance in 23 years and secure a win that would be one of the most famous in their history.
Calvert-Lewin expects a tense game due to the age-old rivalry between the two nations and stressed that England must keep their composure. “I think we have to be careful with that and make sure that we do stay cool,” he said.
“We know it is going to be a tough, physical test and we have to play our game and play our football and put into practice what we’ve been working on in training. But of course it is going to be a very tough game.”