Dominic Calvert-Lewin pressed his impressive claim for an England call, with a fine hat trick to put Everton within two wins of the EFL Cup final.
Gareth Southgate will name his squad on Thursday, and he can’t failed to be impressed by the young forward, who now has eight goals in just five games this season, after blossoming under Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian boss took the brave decision to play both his first choice strikers in this competition, and they provided the goals that saw off a spirited West Hame side, to steer the Blues into the quarter finals.
Richarlison limped off with an ankle problem casting a little shade on the night.
But that couldn’t take away from Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant display – and the manager’s clear intent in this competition.
Picking his front line strikers, and both James and Allan in midfield said only one thing: he wants to win it, and maintain Everton’s impressive momentum, which saw them take their run to six straight wins this season now.
It led to an enthralling contest instead of the usual youth-level antiseptic encounters you so often get in the Carabao Cup, with Calvert-Lewin’s double taking his tally to seven already in just fives games, and surely into the England squad, after a phenomenal improvement under Ancelotti.
The Hammers played their part with some flashes of fine football, but were also prised open by the swift attacking incision of the Blues forward line, with James a classy conductor.
Within 11 minutes, it led to a goal, Michael Keane stepping round Lanzini to deliver a fine ball which Calvert-Lewin deftly caressed from the sky, and then dispatched the finish coolly.
That West Ham were only a goal behind at the break gave them hope, and within 25 seconds of the restart they were level, as Snodgrass found too much space on the edge of the box to curl a delicious left foot curling shot over Pickford.
Everton though, have real belief now and they took the lead again as Richarlison’s shot – his last contribution before going off with injury – took a big deflection to beat Randolph and sneak in at the near post.
West Ham almost levelled again through Haller’s brilliant overhead, but Pickford was equal to it, and then Calvert-Lewin took over for his second hat-trick of the campaign.
First he pounced when Hammers keeper Randolph parried a clever Alex Iwobi shot on 78 minutes, and then four minutes later he darted onto a through ball from Sigurdsson to smash the ball home…and surely prompt that call from Southgate.
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