By George Overhill

22nd May, 2023 | 9:40pm

Everton left 'horribly exposed' amid Dominic Calvert-Lewin situation amid 'inexplicable failure' at Goodison Park - Paul Joyce

Everton have been left “horribly exposed” with Dominic Calvert-Lewin set to miss the final game of the season through injury, according to Paul Joyce.

The Toffees striker was replaced in first-half stoppage time of the 1-1 draw against Wolves on Saturday (20 May), in the latest set back of a long series, despite Sean Dyche being hailed for “playing an absolute blinder” in getting him fit enough to start a run of successive games.

The manager takes his side into the final weekend knowing a win will secure survival, but without his main striker that will be significantly harder and draws an unwanted spotlight back onto the lack of attacking arrivals in recent windows, which Joyce has slammed in no uncertain terms.

He writes in The Times: “The inexplicable failure to strengthen in attack across two transfer windows leaves them horribly exposed now that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is set to miss their final fixture with a hamstring injury.”


There had been some fleeting glimpses of the Everton star of old in recent weeks, particularly across the four-point double header in away trips to Leicester and Brighton.

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With Calvert-Lewin in the team and fit enough to perform his role properly this side is transformed, where without him they have to muddle through while appearing to play uphill at times.

Neal Maupay’s time at the club has not proven to be a happy one and his presence hasn’t replaced Richarlison at all, although if he gets the nod on the final day and comes up with just his second goal as a Toffee it might make the intervening year water under the bridge.

Ellis Simms has potential but clearly isn’t trusted to shoulder the load on a regular basis by Dyche, so another option in the mould of the star man would be extremely welcome at this stage.

Everton were linked to numerous striker targets in January and came up empty-handed despite it being common knowledge during the dying days of the Frank Lampard era attacking reinforcements were needed.

Instead they were reduced when Anthony Gordon was sold to Newcastle, which negated any benefit from having signed Dwight McNeil six months earlier.

The alleged FFP breach that has since seen the Premier League refer the club to an independent commission shows that spending is anything but straight forward, but even where big money was reportedly on offer the club failed to get deals across the line.

So, having got to this stage with survival still in their hands, it would be excruciating to see the familiar forward issues spell doom at the last.