Wayne Rooney has backed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to build on his impressive start with England, believing the Everton forward deserved an opportunity at international level ahead of Tammy Abraham.
Calvert-Lewin scored 15 goals in all competitions for his club in the 2019-20 season but had to patiently wait for his chance at international level.
However, a great start to the new campaign led to a debut for the 23-year-old against Wales this month. He seized the opportunity, finding the net in a 3-0 triumph for Gareth Southgate’s side at Wembley.
Abraham, meanwhile, made his England bow back in 2017, his chance coming at a time when he was still yet to break into the first-team picture at Chelsea.
In his column for the Sunday Times, Rooney raised concerns over players based in the north having to “work harder” to get an England call-up.
On Calvert-Lewin, Rooney stated: “For England, he can become an important member of the squad and it’s great seeing him finally recognised at international level.
“I’ve always thought young lads from the north have to work harder to get their England opportunities than boys from the big southern clubs.
“I felt Calvert-Lewin deserved his chance before Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham.”
Calvert-Lewin has scored seven times in the Premier League already this term, helping Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton make the early running.
Rooney saw the forward at close quarters when he returned for a second spell at his boyhood club and has praised the work done by coach Duncan Ferguson in Calvert-Lewin’s development.
“Dominic always had it in him and the big question mark was whether he could score consistently enough, but now that is coming through game time,” Rooney continued.
“When I returned to Everton he was entering his second season with the club. I looked at him in training and thought ‘he has everything’.
“He was quick, strong, good in the air. His only downfall was he was snatching at chances but he was already working hard to correct that and Duncan Ferguson deserves a lot of credit because Duncan would always stay with him after training and give him finishing drills.”