Laura Lawrence hopes the injury-hit striker shuts down his critics and toxic masculinity in football by returning to form in perfect fashion.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an icon. Whether you like how he styles himself or not, there can be no doubting that he has made an impact. Fans and pundits are, however, questioning whether now is the right time to ‘express’ himself due to his performances on the pitch and Everton’s precarious Premier League position. The Sheffield-born Toffees player gave an interview this week to British GQ; a cover story where he chose to wear his own miniature, turquoise Chanel handbag. Very nice it was too. As a woman who gets handed her husband’s wallet and keys to put in her handbag every time we leave the house, I’m grateful that Calvert-Lewin is trying to prove that men can carry their own belongings for a change.
Calvert-Lewin told GQ: “We might play football but we’re human beings too, and we’re open to a lot of criticism.”
And criticism he has received in abundance.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that fashion and football don’t mix. Take the much-memed photo of Rooney, Scholes, Ferdinand et al on a night out in varying shades of beige, brown, and bootcut denim. Equally you have David Beckham and George Best who pushed the boundaries of what masculinity meant in their choices of attire.
But can a footballer only truly be themselves if they have earned the right on the pitch?
Calvert-Lewin hasn’t scored since August and there are rumours that Arsenal are interested in signing him in the summer, so he may be distracted. Marcus Rashford had similar arguments laid at his door when he was campaigning for free school meals and his performances weren’t up to scratch.
If Calvert-Lewin isn’t doing the work on the training pitch and in his rehabilitation, then there is an issue. But let’s also look at the state of play on the Everton pitch.
The whole team is lacking in confidence and wins, not just Calvert-Lewin. He has only recently returned from long-term injury, and the sources of the service he was receiving when he was more prolific have been sold. The team’s new Lampardian tactics also don’t suit his style of play but he needs service in the box and that has been poor since James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne departed.
I’m not sure Calvert-Lewin putting on a skort and having a few photos taken are the root cause of Everton’s problems. The toxic masculine scapegoating will inevitably continue, but if DCL’s going to get his form back I hope he does it wearing a Bvlgari toe ring under his boots.
Follow Laura on Twitter @YICETOR