Carlo Ancelotti believes Dominic Calvert-Lewin can become one of Europe’s best strikers.
The 22-year-old scored twice in Everton’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday as the Toffees made it two wins from two under Ancelotti.
Calvert-Lewin also netted the Boxing Day winner against Burnley, and is the club’s leading scorer this term with eight league goals in 18 games.
And Ancelotti has seen enough from the young striker to predict he will go on to great things.
The Italian, who has managed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, said: “He is a fantastic striker in my opinion – fantastic with the head, clever in the box, and sharp.
“But he’s young and for this reason he has to improve. He is a humble guy and he doesn’t talk a lot.
“I think he is going to be at the top in England and in Europe. He has all the qualities to be a top striker.”
Despite the positive start to his tenure, Ancelotti has already begun to pinpoint the improvements he believes his side can make as they look to secure their place in the top half of the table.
“We had difficulties in the second part of the first half where we suffered a lot and lost control of the game,” added Ancelotti.
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“I think the spirit of the team is really good and I think this is the key to our victory. Now have to work when we have time to try to play better football.
“Some parts of the game were really good but we have to show continuity in the game and not lose control like we did in the last 20 minutes of the first half.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce questioned the decision not to award Miguel Almiron a first-minute penalty after another game which threatened to increase his injury list ahead of the New Year’s Day clash with Leicester.
Almiron wrestled with Everton defender Michael Keane after being played through with just 40 seconds on the clock and Bruce said the Paraguayan paid for being ‘too honest’.
Bruce said: “They launched an attack on him two weeks ago for going over, [but] he’s tried to stay on his feet and be genuine and he hasn’t been rewarded.
“I thought the first one with Almiron was the critical one. If he goes down it’s a penalty, but he stays on his feet and he makes the referee’s decision easy.”
Bruce confirmed that Schar and Joelinton are already doubts for the clash with the Foxes after coming off the pitch complaining of hamstring and calf issues respectively.
And the news prompted the Magpies boss to criticise the hectic fixture schedule, insisting: “You can see it (the game) is littered with mistakes and obviously the players are fatigued.
“We created a few chances and for me we went a bit ragged too early in terms of chasing the game.
“The crowd were magnificent in that period and the players reacted to the crowd and we got punished – we left ourselves a bit exposed.
“I don’t think we deserved to get beaten today. It was important we didn’t lose the match and unfortunately we have, which is the disappointing thing.
“We’re halfway and it’s the first time we’ve suffered back-to-back defeats since August. So let’s dust ourselves down and get ready for Wednesday and the second half of the season.”