Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has praised Romelu Lukaku, calling him “one of the most significant scorers at his age”.
Lukaku also worked with Martinez at Everton, where he had his best Premier League season to date, scoring 25 goals during the 2016/17 campaign.
Was Lukaku’s Man Utd career a success? Five things to know…
- Lukaku scored 42 goals in 96 appearances in his two years in Manchester.
- However, just one of his goals came against the top six in the Premier League.
- Lukaku’s best season for United produced 16 league goals and 27 in all competitions.
- The Belgian failed to win a major trophy, but came second in his debut season and reached an FA Cup final.
- He scored a brace at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League against PSG, helping Man United progress to the quarter-finals.
The performances in that season earned Lukaku a move to Manchester United, spending two years at Old Trafford. Lukaku came under criticism from fans in his final Premier League season, and has since completed a move to Inter Milan, taking the same route as Alexis Sanchez.
And Martinez believes Lukaku was under-appreciated in Manchester, telling the Daily Mail: “Romelu hasn’t been appreciated for most of the time he’s been in the British game. And the reason is very clear. Everyone analyses what he hasn’t got as a No 9.
“Everyone wants to tell him the first touch should be better, that he should be stronger in the air, that he needs to make more room. But what they miss is his outstanding trade as a goalscorer. Look at his stats. He is one of the most significant scorers at his age.”
Lukaku has 48 goals in 81 games for Belgium and 113 goals in 252 games in the Premier League.
“Like any player, if you are going to highlight the things they don’t do well, you wouldn’t get the feeling of a good player. But in Romelu’s case, he’s always been a top goalscorer.”
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A brighter future?
Despite the criticism, Lukaku has long been admired by his new boss Antonio Conte, who tried to sign him when he was manager of Juventus, and then at Chelsea.
Inter’s new number nine started well, scoring on his debut against Lecce.
“Tonight, Lukaku showed why we tried so hard to sign him…Lukaku entered the world of Inter in the best way, with great humility” Conte told Sky Sports after Inter’s opening day win.