Why Everton's Romelu Lukaku needs to find his form ahead of Stoke clash
Everton have had a good start to the season under new manager Ronald Koeman, taking four points from their opening two league games and progressing in the EFL Cup. They started their campaign with a difficult test against Spurs and were the better side for the first half. The squad are adjusting to Koeman’s high intensity style and they should improve every week.
There is a feeling that Koeman can take Everton much further than Roberto Martinez could, due to his tactical flexibility, which is crucial in the modern game. In the Premier League, there are several styles and managers must be able to change their game-plan accordingly. Koeman also showed how ruthless he was last weekend, making a first-half substitution and changing the formation, which helped Everton come back from 1-0 down to beat West Brom. Romelu Lukaku was the player to come on and Everton fans will be hoping that Koeman can get much more out of the Belgian than Martinez managed.
It was expected that Lukaku would leave the club this summer, but he now looks like he is going to stay and that is a huge boost for Everton. Although he is frustratingly inconsistent, he has the attributes to develop into a world class striker and this season is pivotal. He must start showing progression otherwise he could be in danger of wasting his talent.
He is currently suffering the worst dry spell in his career. The Belgian hasn’t scored or assisted in his last ten league matches for Everton, which stretches back to March. He has long been tipped as the best striking talent in the game, but has yet to make that final step up to be considered as a world class player. Lukaku is now 23 and needs to add consistency to his game. On his day, the Belgian international is a devastating striker, capable of dominating defences, but these performances aren’t as common as they need to be.
During the summer, he performed averagely in the Euros, scoring twice in five matches. He was excellent against Ireland, but they were arguably the worst side that Belgium came up against in the tournament. This was seen as Belgium’s best opportunity of winning a tournament and their team under-performed. Lukaku was the focal point of their attack and he didn’t lead the line as well as expected.
Since arriving in England, Lukaku has played for three clubs and appeared in over 100 Premier League matches. He is well established in the league and is now in a position where he should push on to become one of the best strikers in the league. Despite his obvious talent, Lukaku has never managed to pass the 20-goal mark in the league. His best goal-scoring season was last year when he scored 18 times. This shows his steady progress, but he must now be targeting 20+ goals.
Although Lukaku was hoping to leave Everton this season and move to a Champions League side, he has yet to have an elite season in England. He needs to aim for that this season and surpass the 20-goal barrier. This is seen as the benchmark for strikers, especially world class ones and this is the level that Lukaku should aspire to.
Ronald Koeman’s appointment as Everton manager could help Lukaku a lot. The Dutchman is seen as a legend of the game as he played at the highest level. He has plenty of experience and has helped a lot of players to progress in their careers. A great example is Graziano Pelle. Koeman helped Pelle develop from an average Eredivisie striker to a leading Premier League one. The Italian also became an important member of his national side as a result of Koeman’s coaching.
If Koeman can do this for a player like Pelle, he should be able to help Lukaku reach elite level. The Belgian has a tough task ahead and it won’t be easy, but there is no doubting his potential. He has an imposing physique and is capable of bullying defences. This season will determine where Lukaku’s future lies and it should be at elite level. First of all, he needs to put a stop to his awful run of form for Everton and Stoke City could prove to be the perfect opposition to do just that.
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