Ever since Romelu Lukaku made his Manchester United debut against West Ham United in August it seems that the majority of Premier League pundits have been queuing up to find weaknesses in his game.
Unfortunately, last Saturday, during his side’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur the striker’s own fans also began to voice their frustration with his performance.
It started with a chorus of ‘’ohhs,’’ and ‘’ ahhs ,‘’ everytime the 24-year-old failed to hold up the ball or win a flick on and reached a crescendo in the 75th minute when Jose Mourinho substituted Marcus Rashford for Anthony Martial.
The Old Trafford faithful’s response was to boo heavily, letting their manager know, in no uncertain terms that they believed he was taking off the wrong player.
While I am not trying to say Lukaku played well against Spurs – he was shocking for the most part – I really do think the Old Trafford faithful so clearly getting on his back was extremely harsh.
Fair enough,the Belguim international has not been great over the last few games, but he has scored 10 goals in 14 games since he joined United in a £75 million move from Everton this summer. Does this type of return not give him a little bit of credit with fans or is the modern supporter so fickle and so easily influenced by the media that they turn on a player as soon as he starts struggling for form ?
Have we all not watched enough football over the years to know that even the best of strikers go through barren spells every now and again ?
I really think we should take into consideration the fact that moving from Everton to a club the size of Manchester United is a massive step up for the youngster and he has played almost every minute of every game since his arrival.
Strikers of course are also heavily reliant on the type of service they receive; with the absence Paul Pogba through injury and the rapid drop off in form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan hardly helping the striker over recent weeks.
Lukaku is 24-years-old, which is the same as England’s golden boy Harry Kane; the Belgian has 92 Premier League goals and Spurs star striker has 85.
Kane, it must be said is a far superior all-round footballer, but why when pundits talk of breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 260 goals does Lukaku’s name rarely enter the debate and in all honesty would he receive so much derision if he was a 24-year-old Englishman with a goal-scoring record as impressive as he has ?
Well, I’ll go ahead and hazard a guess, no, he definitely would not. In fact, I’m thinking that if Lukaku had a English passport most pundits would probably be emphasising what United’s number nine can do as opposed to what he can’t.
Kane can’t hit a barn door in August – at times resorting to attempting pot shots from ridiculous angles when team-mates are much better placed – and it’s seen as nothing more than a quirky statistic, but if Lukaku has a run of five games without a goal he’s a donkey.
Again, I’m not trying to say Lukaku is the perfect striker and has no weaknesses in his gamne, as he clearly does. His first touch and hold-play really do need to be improved upon as they are way below what you would expect from an elite level forward. However, if you listen to the striker in any interview he readily admits he is far from the finished article and states how eager he is to improve.
As far as I can see Manchester United signed Lukaku to be a 25 – 30 goal a season striker and he is well on course to achieve this. So come on lads, get behind the big man and cut him a bit of slack.
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