Pundit and former manager Roy Keane has slammed Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin for ‘lacking maturity’ in England’s 1-0 friendly win over Romania.
A disciplined pair of performances ahead of Euro 2020 in friendly warm-up matches against Austria and Romania has seen the Three Lions grind out two clean sheets in as many games, but only managed a goal in each game.
Everton striker Calvert-Lewin is one of just two out-and-out hitmen – the other being England captain Harry Kane – that Gareth Southgate is taking to the finals of the continental competition.
Opting to rest the national side’s captain, Calvert-Lewin was charged with leading the line for most of the ninety minutes against Romania but failed to meaningfully capitalise on any chances.
One notable flashpoint came when England were awarded a second penalty shortly after Marcus Rashford slotted home England’s first, only for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson to claim penalty responsibilities – with his swift effort saved.
With Calvert-Lewin having drawn the second penalty himself when Vlad Chiriches committed a clumsy aerial challenge on the marksman.
Although Henderson’s miss had no overall bearing on the final result, Keane felt Calvert-Lewin needed to show a greater level of individual responsibility.
“He should have fought his corner there. He should have showed a bit of maturity,” Keane told ITV.
“’I don’t care who you are, I’ve won the penalty, I’m the striker, you’ve been out of the game for three months, back away’
“Strikers are supposed to be selfish. It’s not as if Jordan has scored loads of penalties or loads of goals. You’re the striker, you’ve won the penalty.
“So what? Why do you keep saying that? It’s about putting the ball in the back of the net. He shouldn’t have done, it’s not a good sign from him.”
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With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to frame Henderson’s assertiveness as misplaced.
Everton fans would have been keen to see their talismanic hitman attempt to convert, and it may be that Henderson’s assertiveness over Calvert-Lewin was an attempt to tug at the strings of the Merseyside derby – a symbolic breaking of ranks that backfired spectacularly.
As a consolation, Henderson’s miss gives Evertonians the last laugh.