Dominic Calvert-Lewin: England forward set to start vs Wales

Everton striker Calvert-Lewin has nine goals already this season; Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho out after attending Abraham's surprise birthday party on Sunday; Raheem Sterling has withdrawn through injury

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates his wonderful header in the second period
Image: Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been Everton's stand-out performer this season

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is expected to start against Wales on his England debut on Thursday.

The Everton striker has been called up to the senior squad for the first time after scoring nine goals already this season.

Gareth Southgate's squad has been hit by a number of absentees from what was originally a 30-man squad ahead of their first game at Wembley since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March.

Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho are all ruled out after attending Abraham's surprise birthday party on Sunday, the day before the trio were due to link up with their team-mates at St George's Park.

Gareth Southgate insists he will not "hurt" Greenwood and Foden any more 4:53
Gareth Southgate wants England players to be more responsible after three of the squad broke social distancing guidelines, ruling them out of the friendly with Wales

Raheem Sterling has also withdrawn through injury.

Calvert-Lewin, 23, said earlier this week he could not wait to work with fellow England striker Harry Kane after receiving his first call-up.

Kane has registered eight goals and seven assists in eight games for Spurs this season.

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"I'm always learning and he has been scoring goals for a long period of time," Calvert-Lewin said of Kane. "He broke into the Premier League and hit the ground running around the same age as me.

"He's got a lot of things to his game I can learn from and I can add that to my game. He is where he is for a reason. He's worked extremely hard, he's got great ability and he scores goals.

"For me as a player coming into the team, it's nice to get up close and personal and see how he operates on a daily basis."

How Calvert-Lewin's form exploded

With nine goals in six games, Calvert-Lewin is the hottest striker in the land. Everton have long been aware of his talent but even they could not have expected this. Was it foreseeable? Analysing his evolution into a top-class centre-forward...

Adam Bate analyses Calvert-Lewin's progression here

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's shot locations under Carlo Ancelotti show him having far more shots from close range
Image: Calvert-Lewin's shot locations under Carlo Ancelotti show him having far more shots from close range

Who deserves to be England's No 1?

Should Jordan Pickford remain England's regular No 1 or is it time for Gareth Southgate to turn to Nick Pope or Dean Henderson?

Pickford's position for the national side came back under the spotlight following a blunder against Brighton, with the Everton man making four errors leading to goals in the Premier League in 2020 - more than any other goalkeeper.

Southgate has since confirmed that Burnley's Pope will start against Wales in Thursday's friendly but who should be the full-time man between the sticks? That question was discussed on the latest Pitch to Post Podcast as Sky Sports News' England reporter Rob Dorsett and skysports.com's Oli Yew joined Kate Burlaga for an international preview special - and we also asked for your verdict...

Jordan Pickford 2:29
Speaking on The Football Show, Rob Green assesses the three England goalkeepers Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson competing for the No 1 spot

Nev & Carra: The case for England's defence

After the ineffective deployment of his favoured 3-4-3 formation in Denmark, England boss Gareth Southgate is presented with another opportunity to experiment with formations as preparations for next summer's European Championships resume.

Settling on a defensive system that utilises the wealth of talent at Southgate's disposal, while providing the platform for England's attack to thrive, is now as crucial an objective as any after September's stalemate in Copenhagen.

So, is time needed to adapt? Should England play with a left-footed centre-back? Play to their strengths with four-man defence?

Nev and Carra analyse England's defensive options here

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