The case for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to keep his place against Manchester United

Ronald Koeman Manager of Everton looks dejected during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on April 4, 2017 in Manchester, England.

The Everton youngster’s early Premier League form has been one of few encouraging aspects of the campaign.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin of England looks on after an England Under 21 training session at St George's Park on August 30, 2017 in Burton-upon-Trent, England.

Everton’s 3-0 Europa League defeat to Atalanta didn’t leave many Toffees players in a good light, with Ronald Koeman blasting his squad for being “afraid” in the Liverpool Echo.

But if one man deserves to retain his place from the debacle in Italy for Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Manchester United, it’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The England U21 international was given the nod ahead of the struggling Sandro Ramirez on Thursday, but was an isolated figure up front before being replaced in the 75th minute.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on August 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.

However, his performances in the top-flight have been much more encouraging and his production means he should be retained over the Spaniard for the trip to Old Trafford.

Calvert-Lewin started the opening two league games of the campaign for Koeman, and registered an assist in each as Everton picked up a win over Stoke and a draw with Manchester City.

He was inexplicably moved to the bench in the next two matches, but where his replacement Sandro is struggling to adapt to his new surroundings – he is yet to hit the target in 185 minutes of league action so far – Calvert-Lewin is thriving.

Sandro Ramirez of Everton during a pre-season friendly match between Everton and Sevilla at Goodison Park on August 6, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

The England youngster has had the most shots per 90 minutes in the Everton squad so far this term, while only Wayne Rooney has fired more attempts on target.

In addition to taking shots, the 20-year-old creates them too.

No other Everton forward has made more key passes per 90 minutes than Calvert-Lewin, so retaining him in the XI for the Red Devils clash looks to be an obvious starting point as Koeman bids for an improved performance.

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