Dominic Calvert-Lewin: Wayne Rooney says Everton striker deserved England cap before Chelsea's Tammy Abraham

Writing in his Sunday Times column, Rooney said we are seeing the rewards of Everton keeping faith with Calvert-Lewin as their starting striker

Dominic Calvert-Lewin kept his place in the side against Belgium
Image: Dominic Calvert-Lewin featured in all three England games earlier this month, scoring his first international goal against Wales

Wayne Rooney believes young players from the north of England find it harder to break into the England team than those from the south and thinks Dominic Calvert-Lewin deserved his senior international call-up before Chelsea's Tammy Abraham.

Calvert-Lewin, 23, broke into Gareth Southgate's England side earlier this month after a blistering start to the new campaign, scoring five goals in three league games for Everton.

Abraham, who is the same age as Calvert-Lewin, earned his first England cap in 2017, starting in a friendly against Germany after impressing on loan at Swansea.

Tammy Abraham made his senior England debut in a friendly against Germany in 2017
Image: Tammy Abraham made his senior England debut in a friendly against Germany in 2017

The Chelsea striker then waited two years for his next senior call-up but was named in Southgate's squad in October 2019 having made a similarly eye-catching start to the season.

Reflecting on Calvert-Lewin's breakthrough in his Sunday Times column, Rooney said: "For England, he can become an important member of the squad and it's great seeing him finally recognised at international level.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin rises to head Everton level at Goodison Park
Image: Calvert-Lewin scored his seventh league goal in five games against Liverpool on Saturday

"I've always thought young lads from the north have to work harder to get their England opportunities than boys from the big southern clubs. I felt Calvert-Lewin deserved his chance before Chelsea's Tammy Abraham."

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Last season Calvert-Lewin hit a career-high 15 goals, with manager Carlo Ancelotti keeping faith in the striker, despite going a run of ten games without scoring.

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"We're seeing the rewards," said Rooney. "Dominic always had it in him and the big question mark was whether he could score consistently enough, but now that is coming through game time.

Everton's U23s manager David Unsworth discusses the rise of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and speaks of the impact Carlo Ancelotti has made at Goodison Park

"When I returned to Everton he was entering his second season with the club. I looked at him in training and thought 'he has everything'.

"He was quick, strong, good in the air. His only downfall was he was snatching at chances but he was already working hard to correct that and Duncan Ferguson deserves a lot of credit because Duncan would always stay with him after training and give him finishing drills."

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