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Win at Goodison Park puts Everton on solid ground for Villa Park trip

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By DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

We have made a solid start to the new Premier League season after collecting four points from our opening two matches. We didn’t quite get the result we wanted away at Crystal Palace but it was great to return to Goodison Park last week, play in front of a special atmosphere and reward our fans with a hard-earned 1-0 win against Watford.

Arriving at the stadium, seeing all the fans with their flags and walking out onto the pitch to our famous matchday anthem ‘Z-Cars’… it brought back memories of the great times we had at Goodison towards the end of last season with the wins against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

When we are playing at home, we hear the fans non-stop and to have that backing from them, it does make a massive difference. We had a small wobble in terms of results in the middle of last season, so to shake that off, turn it around and have what we have now at home, that’s very special. If we can continue playing well and repaying our fans for their great support, we have an exciting season ahead of us.

Last Saturday, it was important we started on the right note and we did that thanks to Bernard’s early goal. Performance-wise, I believe there is still a lot more to come from the team as it is still early days in the season but we earned the victory and that was the most important factor from the afternoon.

This season I have taken up the number nine shirt and, for me, that is a massive honour at this great club. As a kid, you always picture the centre-forward as the number nine – that’s the number that every striker wants to wear.

I had a conversation with the manager when I returned for pre-season training and he gave me the opportunity to wear that shirt, so the belief is there. That shows that the manager backs me, to give me that shirt number and start me in the first two matches of the season.

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I understand the shirt comes with great responsibility but that is something I relish. I am determined to build on my performances last season and add certain elements to my game, which I am working extremely hard at on a daily basis. I take great pride and I want to repay the faith that has been put in me by delivering more goals for Everton.

I scored eight times last season, so this year the aim has to be double figures. I started pre-season training a little bit later than the other players within the squad due to representing England at the Under-21 European Championships but I feel like I am getting fitter and stronger every day. Game by game, I am sure I will keep improving.

The new signings who arrived over the summer have all settled in really well within the group. In fact, Alex Iwobi has joined me and Tom Davies on our breakfast table, so I have been spending a lot of time with him! Moise Kean is another to come in. He’s a good lad and his English is a lot better than I expected! I’d come across him several times previously when playing for England Under-21s and in international youth competitions. He’s settled in really well, like Fabian Delph, Djibril Sidibe, Jonas Lössl, Jean-Philippe Gbamin have too. This Friday evening, we travel to Aston Villa, where we expect another competitive match.

It’s been a tough start for Villa, losing to Tottenham and Bournemouth in their opening matches, so they will no doubt come out of the traps fast, wanting to give something to their home fans. I’m sure it will be an intense atmosphere under the floodlights at Villa Park, but I believe we can go there and get another positive result.

Calvert-Lewin plays as a forward for Everton FC.





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