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A look at Romelu Lukaku’s complete performance in Everton’s victory over Hull

Jake Jackman

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Everton managed to move level on points with Arsenal at the weekend with a convincing home victory over Hull City. It looks like 7th place will be good enough for the Toffees to earn a Europa League place this season and they are now seven points clear of West Brom in 8th. Although they will be looking to climb into the top six before the end of the season, consolidating their current position will be their main aim and they are doing an excellent job of doing that with only one loss in their last ten league matches.

The player that stood out on Saturday was Romelu Lukaku. This week has seen reports that the striker won’t sign a new deal and will instead look for a move during the summer. The Belgian has the ability to play in the Champions League and his recent form has underlined that fact. It is not a surprise that he wants to leave Goodison Park as he has outgrown the club over the past 12 months, but it is clear from his recent performances that he remains committed to the cause for the time being at least. The 23-year-old has his sights firmly on finishing as the league’s top scorer as he moved to lead the standings thanks to his two goals on Saturday.

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His first goal came as a result of a nice run in behind the defence before he placed the ball into the back of the net. It was a typically calm finish which emphasises that confidence that the Belgian has at the moment. However, it was the movement that was most impressive. He always chooses the right time to make his run and often finds space to exploit. His first goal was scored during stoppage time at the end of the second half, but he showed no sign of settling for one and managed to grab a second during the dying moments. This time, he showed his awareness to pounce on a loose back pass and rounded the keeper to score. He is unplayable at the moment and these two goals allow him to maintain his momentum.

It is not only his goal threat that makes him difficult to play against, but he is also an excellent creator as shown by his six assists this season. He set up the second goal on Saturday with an incredible piece of skill to lift the ball over the Hull City back four to find Enner Valencia who slotted into the net. The assist made the finish easy for his team-mate and this extra dimension to his game makes him a complete striker.

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During the match, he attempted six shots, completed both his attempted dribbles and made one key pass. The one minor disappointment to his performance was his aerial presence. He completed only two of seven nine aerial duels, which isn’t good enough for a player with his physique. Hull managed to deal with him comfortably in the air and this is something that Lukaku needs to improve over the coming weeks. The Belgian is a powerful unit and it is important that he uses that to his advantage.

It was a complete performance from the Belgian striker. He has now scored nine goals and contributed two assists during his last six league matches. Given Harry Kane’s recent injury, it is difficult to see the 23-year-old being beaten to the golden boot this season. If he does manage to win the award, it will mark a coming of age for the forward. He has long been tipped for big things since arriving at Chelsea in 2011 and he is now realising his huge potential. Although it will be disappointing for Everton fans, it is the right time for him to move on at the end of the season and test himself at the highest level. His performances in 2017 suggest he is now good enough to make the step up.

Featured image: All rights reserved by BennyCapricorn

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

English Premier League

Shani Tarashaj is back in action for Everton, but does he have future at club?

The Swiss international has struggled with injury and illness at Everton.

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Friday evening saw Everton play their final under-23 game of the season. The side battled to a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, with Matty Foulds and Luke Garbutt the unlikely goalscorers. The fixture also saw the appearance from the bench of a forgotten Everton player – Shani Tarashaj.

Back in January 2016, the then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed Swiss international Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers Zurich. The fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, was around £3 million for a player that Martinez had high hopes for.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The young attacker had come through the ranks at Grasshoppers and was immediately loaned back to them until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

All the signs pointed to a future Everton star, but that has not been the case. Instead, Tarashaj has flopped at Everton and it would be no surprise if he was sold by the club this summer.

So what went wrong?

Firstly, the change of manager. It was Martinez who brought Tarashaj to the club in the same window he had signed Oumar Niasse. Once the Spaniard left, getting into Ronald Koeman ’s plans was always going to be a more difficult task.

Tarashaj then spent 2016-17 on loan at German side Eintracht Frankfurt. He struggled to make an impact in Germany and to compound his misery, injury and illness have struck.

(during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Switzerland at Aviva Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Benign angina and severe tonsillitis have disrupted the sickly Swiss’ career on Merseyside before he suffered knee ligament damage last summer, which required surgery.

This season, the attacking midfielder has managed just two appearances for Everton’s under-23s and his career as a Toffee has, so far, been one to forget.

There is still hope for the Swiss international. He still has two years left on his contract at Everton and perhaps there is still a chance he can make it at Goodison Park. But two-and-a-half years after first signing for the club, Tarashaj is still waiting to make his Everton debut.

The Manchester United tie may very well prove to be his last as an Everton player.

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English Premier League

Everton must offer first-team assurances to Ademola Lookman next season

The 20-year-old has found success in the Bundesliga.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

It is becoming a more common theme for young English players to move abroad in the hope of gaining first-team football. The Bundesliga is their most popular destination, with the likes of Reece Oxford, Jadon Sancho, Ryan Kent and Ademola Lookman all spending time there this season with differing levels of success.

Lookman only played a total of 154 minutes in the Premier League this season and that caused him to look elsewhere for the game-time he needed to further his development. RB Leipzig came in to take the winger on loan move and the 20-year-old has been an instant success in Germany.

He hasn’t been a first-team regular, but he has been given the chance to impress and has started three more league matches than he did with Everton in the first half of the season.

The young attacker has made quite the impression on the German club as sporting director Ralf Rangnick has already talked about his hopes of making Lookman’s stay at the club a longer one. The official Bundesliga website report the following quotes taken from an interview with Kicker:

“If it were only up to us, then I would already know the answer. But it’s not only up to us – there’s no option in his contract. We’ll have to see what happens in the summer, and it also depends on what happens at Everton.”

Considering the talent levels in the squad, it was unlikely that Lookman was going to arrive and cement a position in the starting eleven immediately. He would have realised that, but he has impressed in the game-time that he has been given.

(Photo by Robert Michael/Getty Images)

On his debut, he scored the winning goal against Borussia Monchengladbach and, last weekend, he got a crucial equaliser against Werder Bremen.

It can be difficult to adjust to a new country, especially at the age of 20, but Lookman has quickly adapted to his new surroundings and emerged as a good squad player for the German club.

The fact that he has only played 360 minutes mean the following stats need to be treated with caution, but the attacker has produced good numbers in the Bundesliga so far. He currently averages 2.25 chances created and two shots per ninety minutes, highlighting the impact he is having on matches in the final third.

This summer will be an interesting one for Lookman as there will be genuine interest in his services, with current loan club RB Leipzig leading the chase for his signature.

The uncertainty regarding Everton’s future means there is an opportunity for a club to take him from Goodison Park, but the Toffees need to do everything they can to keep hold of him.

The current wingers in the Everton side are Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie, who are 29 and 28 respectively. They have each had good Premier League careers, but their best years are likely behind them due to various injuries.

(Photo by Chara Savvides/Getty Images)

In Lookman, they have a player that can already impact matches now and has potential to develop into a more threatening attacker in the future.

If RB Leipzig come in with a big offer this summer, there might be a temptation to sell Lookman, but that would be a mistake.

Everton have ambitions to become the best of the rest and challenge to break into the top six, but it has become clear this season that their squad isn’t good enough to do that. They won’t be able to achieve those objectives if they sell their best young players as it will only create more recruitment work for them.

Lookman has proven his talent this season and pushed his development on while on loan with RB Leipzig. He has earned a first-team opportunity and it is now imperative that Everton provide one at the start of next season. Otherwise, they will lose one of their best young players.

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English Premier League

Luke Garbutt signs off with style as Sam Allardyce tells him to leave

The Everton defender has been told to move on in the summer by Sam Allardyce.

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Friday night saw Everton’s under-23s end their terrible run of form in what was their final game of the season. They drew 2-2 with Manchester United to end the run of five consecutive defeats. For some of the Everton players, it may be the last time they play for the club. Belgian winger David Henen has already confirmed he was on his way out of the club this summer.  Now it seems Luke Garbutt will also exit.

This weekend saw Everton first-team boss Sam Allardyce admit that Garbutt would be told to find a new club this summer.

(<> on March 12, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

He is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as stating:

“He’s had a difficult time here and, personally, Luke Garbutt’s future is elsewhere.”

But at least he signed off with style. Everton, whose other goal came from defender Matty Foulds, took a 2-1 lead at the start of the second-half. It came after Garbutt, who joined from Leeds United in a deal reported by the Telegraph to be worth £600k,  scored a fantastic strike with his rocket of a left-foot.

It was a moment indicative of the quality Garbutt clearly possesses, but what has not been enough to take his career to the next level at Everton.

Garbutt looked like he would become a future star of the Everton first-team when he burst onto the scene in the 2014-15 campaign. However, he soon found himself out of contention. A string of injuries curtailed his development with loan spells at Fulham and Wigan Athletic failing to spark a revival.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

At the start of the current campaign, Garbutt was not given a squad number. Despite returning to the first-team squad for the clash with Watford in February, Garbutt has not played for Everton since the May 2015 defeat to Sunderland. This came despite a shortage of left-back options at Goodison Park this season. Still, Garbutt was overlooked.

At one point the former England under-21 international looked like being the natural successor to Leighton Baines but those days are in the past. This summer he will have to leave to get his career back on track, but at least he signed off with a bang.

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