Everton defender James Tarkowski reacts to Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal and Jarrad Branthwaite display at Brentford.
James Tarkowski hopes Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s scoring return can inspire Everton’s number nine to keep fit and firing.
The centre forward came off the bench to net his first goal from open play in 11 months to seal Saturday evening’s 3-1 win at Brentford and secure the Blues’ first victory of the Premier League campaign.
Given the numerous injuries setbacks that Calvert-Lewin has suffered over the past couple of years – he’s played fewer than half the matches in both of the past two seasons – including his most recent spell on the sidelines caused by a collision with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez last month, both his team-mates and the travelling supporters were delighted to see the 26-year-old register what was, other than a penalty at Leicester City on May 1, his first strike since the 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace last October.
Tarkowski said: “I think you could see the reaction from all the lads. We know what he’s been through, so just glad to see him back out there, fingers crossed he stays fit and keeps scoring us.
“We can only do so much (to help). I’ve been lucky with injuries the last few years but I know what it’s like to go through and it’s a difficult time in any player’s career.
“To see him back fit and out there scoring, it’ll feel great and hopefully that continues.”
The Blues skipper earlier restored the visitors lead with a header from Dwight McNeil’s corner-kick after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s opener had been cancelled out by an effort from Mathias Jensen. The goal came after manager Sean Dyche had admitted that Everton’s set-pieces had not been good enough so far this season and the centre-back concurred.
Tarkowski said: “With a head my size, I should be heading the ball like that! Nice to score a goal but we’ve been threatening this for a while and it was about time we put the ball in the back of the net and got the win.
“I often say I need to be more threatening in the opposition box. I feel like I get my head on a lot of things in our box but don’t cause as many problems in the other box. [On Saturday] I managed to do that.
“We know with the size in our team and delivery we’ve got, we should be threatening from set pieces. We got a couple of goals that way – one off a second phase for Doucs and obviously my header.”
While Tarkowski is one of the elder statesmen in the team, having started the season with fellow 30-year-old Michael Keane in the heart of defence, he is now alongside Jarrad Branthwaite who is just 21. However, he believes his youthful partner is learning quickly.
Tarkowski said: “He’s calm, technically very good, physical and quick. He’s also got size.
“He’s got everything to go to the very top at the game, especially for his age. I didn’t see too much of him last season, so this was my first real look and I’ve been really impressed.”
Although it was Everton’s first Premier League win of the season at the sixth time of asking, Tarkowski believes their previous results had not matched the performances they produced and he was glad to finally get some more tangible reward for their efforts. He said: “Sometimes you just get it right. There’s a lot of effort that goes into set pieces but if every little bit doesn’t go right then sometimes it doesn’t go to plan.
“We got things right this time; the delivery right, people in the right position and we got the goals from it.
“The manager sets us up tactically in a certain way but a lot of it was the mentality about it and the way we approach games. I think you saw here; the intensity of our work and the pressure at the times.
“We got after the ball but stayed in a good shape because they’re a team that plays out from the back but likes to get the ball forward quite quickly, so you have to be careful pressing them.
“If there’s too many players there, they fire the ball over your head. I thought we dealt with it pretty well as this is a really difficult place to come.
“We just looked at the stats of (the previous) games and saw we were expected to score three goals in one game and two in another. We knew the performances were there, we just needed to stick it in the back of the net, that’s a big part of the game.”