Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been through the school of hard knocks en-route to becoming the next England superstar.

So hard, in fact, that the Everton sensation still has the scars to prove it.

Calvert-Lewin was just 20 minutes into his debut for non-league Stalybridge Celtic against Hyde United on Boxing Day, 2014 when he was headbutted in the face.

The striker was just 17 at the time and on-loan with the Conference North outfit from hometown club Sheffield United.

He didn't know it back then, but Calvert-Lewin would go on to prove the old adage that there is no gain without pain after rising to the top with Everton and become one of the hottest properties in the Premier League.

His stunning nine goals in six games this season have catapulted him into Gareth Southgate's squad ahead of this month's triple-header, and Calvert-Lewin reckons the blow he suffered six years ago might just have been the best thing that ever happened to him.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has experienced a tough route to the top

He said: "I've still got the scar under my eye from the first 20 minutes of playing for Stalybridge. I played the rest of the game with one eye, because the other one closed up.

"That experience at the time, it was the most I'd ever enjoyed my football up to that point. It was thoroughly enjoyable and it just gave me that sense of what it was like to play proper men's football. At 17, it was definitely what I needed, definitely a catalyst in propelling me forward and helping me get here.

"Sometimes when you go through the academy and then you're a scholar, everything's quite nice and easy and then you realise that players are playing to put food on the table - and it means that much more.

A Zoom press conference was held with England's Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Tuesday following his call-up

Get the latest transfer news straight into your inbox!

Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?

Well then sign up for the brilliant new Daily Star Sport email newsletter!

From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.

How do you sign up?

It only takes a matter of seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.

And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.

You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.

"I'm glad I had that experience because now I don't take it for granted. It was a humbling experience as well, but definitely part and parcel of men's football."

Calvert-Lewin struggles to recall the details of the clash, but insists he relishes the physical side of the game so much that he actually enjoys getting a good hiding.

He said: "I can't really remember what the lad said. It was from a throw in and I've gone to flick it on and he's gone, bang, - and just headbutted me in the face.

"I knew from pretty early what was then required. And I've always felt like I've enjoyed the physical battle and a tough test, so for me I went on to score two goals in that game and it was just a good experience. I actually enjoyed getting beat up, to be honest."

Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham partied with Ben Chilwell last week, breaching lockdown rules

Poor discipline has been a running theme throughout the England camp in recent weeks following the shambolic behaviour of some of Calvert-Lewin's international colleagues.

The scandals have tested Southgate's patience to the limit and Calvert-Lewin, who is expected to start against Wales tomorrow night, admits it is important everyone in the squad learns from the mistakes.

The 23-year-old added: "There's been a few lapses in concentration and that's all I'd put it down to.

"We're human beings at the end of the day, we're still learning and still growing. Everybody is likely to make mistakes at times, but it's important we learn from it, apologise, recognise where you've gone wrong and keep improving."