Each week, Everton’s three Club Ambassadors - Graeme Sharp, Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin - take it in turns to offer their expert views in a regular column - View From A Royal Blue - here on evertonfc.com.
This week, Sharpy discusses big opportunities for forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sandro Ramirez in the coming months, as well as paying tribute to Leighton Baines ahead of another mightily-impressive landmark appearance… CALVERT-LEWIN’S BIG OPPORTUNITY
The manager said he wanted another striker in the transfer window but Dominic has a great opportunity now to stake his claim. He has come back full of confidence after winning the World Cup for England Under-20s over the summer and he’s hit the ground running. People have to remember he is only a young lad and there will be times when his form naturally dips, so we have to be patient with him. But, from what we’ve seen so far, he’s impressed and long may that continue.
There might be a bit more pressure on him now, but you’ve got to be careful with him. The manager knows that as well - and he’ll know the right times to play him.
He’s a confident boy. It’s the hardest league in Europe to play in, so it’s asking an awful lot to come in after coming from Sheffield United only this time last year. He’s probably got his opportunity quicker than even he’d have thought. You have to take your hat off to him.
He’s got a fantastic leap, he’s good in the air. He’s also very quick and he can run the channels well. Obviously, there are parts of his game that he’s still developing but that will come in time.
A lot of people wrote me off when I first came, saying I couldn’t do this or that and I won’t be in the team because I wasn’t strong enough. But it takes time to adapt. Only time will tell how Dominic does, but I know the boy will work extremely hard to be a success. I think he’s got a good future ahead of him.
No doubt he’ll put himself under pressure and, of course, there’s pressure from outside as well when you’re playing up front for Everton. He just has to concentrate on his own game and get on with it. He’s shown he’s a talented boy and now he needs to show it consistently for us. TIME FOR SANDRO TO SHINE
Nobody knows an awful lot about Sandro just yet but I’m looking forward to seeing more of him now he’s back fit after overcoming his heel injury. He started at Barcelona and scored plenty of goals in La Liga with Malaga last season, so he comes with a great pedigree and maybe there’s a little bit more expectation on him than someone like Dominic. I’m still not sure what his best position is. He can play wide right, through the centre but we’ll see. He doesn’t have that aerial presence like Dominic has, so maybe he’ll end up being more of a second striker or a wide man.
He played the full game against Chelsea and he’s had a little break since with the internationals, so hopefully he’s fully over his injury now and he can start adding more goals to the team to get us right up the league table.
300 STARTS FOR BAINESY
I believe if Leighton starts on Saturday, it’ll be his 300th Premier League start for Everton. It’s an incredible achievement to play here for that long. There were some doubters when he first came in from Wigan - but Bainesy soon proved himself and he has been a fantastic player for us. He’s a great defender and he’s also struck up some great partnerships with left-sided midfielders over the years, of course his link-up play with Steven Pienaar springs to mind.
He’s such a good professional and he’s been a great servant to Everton.
I remember speaking to Paul Jewell when he was manager of Wigan and he was signing his praises before he joined us. He was absolutely right to because we’ve all seen the quality of his performances over the years. Bainesy has never let anybody down.
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