Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from the penalty spot to give Everton a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon last SaturdayDominic Calvert-Lewin scored from the penalty spot to give Everton a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon last Saturday

Dominic Calvert-Lewin claimed he was stuck in a “vicious cycle” of injuries at Everton before having a “factory reset” ahead of the new season.

The 26-year-old striker has struggled with a range of injury problems during the past two seasons.

In the 2022-23 campaign he scored two goals in 17 Premier League appearances.

“It’s been a vicious cycle of rushing back, with an expectation on me to be back and not being allowed time to get 100% fit,” Calvert-Lewin said.

“The manager [Sean Dyche] came in and said, ‘You’re not coming back until you are fully fit’. When I come back, I am not a passenger, I have a job to do leading the line.

“He has shown patience, deflecting all attention that is always put on me about ‘when he’s back?’. He took that load off me.

“It was almost like factory reset when the season finished. It was like, ‘What can we do differently, what’s going wrong?’.”

The peak of Calvert-Lewin’s scoring career for Everton came in 2020-21 when he hit 16 goals in 33 Premier League games.

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Calvert-Lewin has played 45 minutes in each of Everton’s last two pre-season friendlies having declared himself “over” his injury problems thanks to a fitness programme, including yoga, which has strengthened his overall mobility.

The England international should be in contention to face Fulham in Everton’s opening Premier League fixture of the season on Saturday.

Calvert-Lewin added on BBC Radio Merseyside: “I am still on my journey of becoming a better player and I feel like my best has not been seen yet, even though I have hit good levels so far.

“When you can’t physically do that and perform on a regular basis, it is the most frustrating thing in the world.

“It’s a mental battle when you are getting injured all the time. When you are on the pitch you are probably not fully committing as you feel something might go wrong.

“I am over that now and in a good space of mind to go and attack the season.”

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