(Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
The Belgian got off the mark with two well-taken goals at the St Mary's Stadium as Everton beat Southampton in impressive fashion on Saturday, a personal display that he ranks among his three best for the club so far.
He admits that he wasn't ready for the start of last season thanks to a summer disrupted by the World Cup and uncertainty over where he would be playing his football in 2014-15 but now he feels primed to help fire the Blues to better fortunes this season.
“I felt strong on Saturday, I scored two and was in the build-up for the other one and I was good at running in behind the defence and holding the ball up. So that performance was definitely in my top three.
“I’ve started well compared to last season. Without any pre-season I wasn’t ready for the league and it took me six months to get to my level but now I am fit so there is no excuse to perform like I did last year.”
The 22-year-old is also predicting better things from team-mate Ross Barkley whom he has tasked with scoring more goals himself this term. Like Lukaku, Barkley has two goals to his name already thanks to a goal in each of Everton's first two games so far.
“Ross was brilliant on Saturday,” the former Chelsea man said in the Liverpool Echo. “The midfielders made it so much easier for me, Ross and Arouna. We had that freedom to inter-change position and defensively we tried to help as well"
“I am told him at the start of the season that he needs to score more and make more assists.
“He is 21 years old, nearly 22 years old, and he needs to be up there with the best players in the League because he has the qualities.”
Manager Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, was fulsome in his praise of his record signing after Saturday's win.
“I always say that Rom can be as good as he wants to be,” the Catalan said. “He has that sort of talent.
“As a player, you’re always chasing and trying to catch up because everyone finds their level eventually. But Rom is a No.9 who can play back to goal, he is like a winger when he runs with the ball, he has the talent to finish with his left or his right foot, he’s powerful in the air, very intelligent with tactical concepts.
“[I]n the last two games, he has been mature. [The Southampton game] reflects some of the best performances we saw in Europe last season, and if he can carry on doing that in the league on a consistent basis, I think we will see a player that can fulfil his potential.”
Reader Comments (52)
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1 Posted 17/08/2015 at 06:48:58
On his day he is unstoppable.
2 Posted 17/08/2015 at 07:56:51
I have been one of Lukaku's critics and it's performances like the devastating one on Saturday, knowing how truly unplayable the lad can be, makes me so mad that we see so many disappointing displays from him.
The player that Rom is with his abilities, his pace, strength, he should never have games where he's on the periphery of it and bullied.
That on Saturday, Rom, has to be the level most weeks this season; if you do that, then both yourself and us are going to be a hell of a lot better off.
3 Posted 17/08/2015 at 08:11:24
Let's just hope he stays injury free and turns in more performances like this.
4 Posted 17/08/2015 at 08:17:52
It was obvious that Kone is more suited to playing deep, almost as an extra midfielder, he was excellent providing much needed creativity.
It also gave Barkley more time on the ball and he grew in confidence; this has to be the way forward... hopefully Roberto sticks to this gameplan.
5 Posted 17/08/2015 at 08:48:47
Kone and Lukaku, the new Sharpy & Heath. We can only hope!
6 Posted 17/08/2015 at 09:11:49
If you put that type of effort in each game Romelu, you will get your rewards. We love centre forwards at Everton. keep putting the effort in, and you will also be loved!
7 Posted 17/08/2015 at 09:32:15
He acknowledges when he doesn't perform, but looks right up for it now. An early win and that confidence grows.... hope it isn't a fragile one.
8 Posted 17/08/2015 at 09:45:06
All of the best performances under Roberto have been when we have a front 3 with the freedom to change about and cause headaches for the opposition. Hopefully he'll name the same team!
9 Posted 17/08/2015 at 10:05:01
Yes, he's by no means the finished article at the moment and because of that he will frustrate on occasions and go through poor periods, last season being the obvious example.
But it's frightening just what a fit, hungry and motivated Romelu Lukaku could be capable of on a football pitch with the benefit of a few more seasons' experience.
10 Posted 17/08/2015 at 10:18:42
Great to hear the Big Feller talking with confidence, drive and ambition which also points to an honest self appraisal.
Very clear from Saturday's game that getting the ball ahead of Rom when he can use his pace, strength or momentum favours the outcome.
11 Posted 17/08/2015 at 10:47:58
Last season, there were too many games where too much respect was given to the opposition, and we lacked ambition, almost a 180-degree change from season 2013-14.
Injuries: they have crippled us for well over a year. All sorts of reasons for players' absences, from the training ground hamstrings to the serious and long-term (Oviedo, Gibson, Pienaar and now Baines). If we can maintain some form with 17 fit players , free of carrying injuries, then we might see the "real" Everton.
Rom is clearly an intelligent young man; I think he realizes the commitment levels the fans expect, and Saturday showed him in all his rampaging glory. I just hope he (and Ross) can continue at this level.
I am encouraged by the number of our young lads starting to show at this level also; that was badly needed, and they are invigorating the squad.
13 Posted 17/08/2015 at 11:11:13
14 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:01:44
We saw a seriously charged Romelu Lukaku on Saturday, possibly the best moat passionate and hungry I've seen him since he first joined on loan two year's ago.
He had a big point to prove two year's ago to Chelsea and Mourinho in particular.
I think, infact I know, Lukaku has to be charged up and play the game with hunger to see the best of him.
He's not a player that looks anything at all when he's strolling and ambling about whilst we play snail paced football, which is also why we need the tempo to be so much quicker.
We haven't got players that are suited to slow possession based football, the likes of Lukaku, Barkley, McCarthy, the game needs to be quick.
15 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:02:47
I will however have no problem getting excited if we could pull off a shock result against a firing Man City team full of quality.
This game will show if Martinez really is as good tactically as he says, we have plenty in our locker to hurt City but they have a lot more so it will be interesting to see how he set's them up. I'm fully expecting a five man midfield and an important role for the increasingly impressive Tom Cleverley!
16 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:11:45
He does play better with support upfront but horses for courses and I suspect we'll revert to one upfront against Man City for the first 60 mins anyway. Need to stop Silva running the show; which he will do if he's given freedom in the centre of the park that losing a body there will create.
17 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:15:20
Best thing I have read in ages.
Showing he is fully aware that his performances last season were seriously lacking.
18 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:20:08
It was also encouraging to see him use his physical strength more as well as giving a bit of verbal stick to Fonte. Which Lukaku will we see in the next game?
19 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:27:55
20 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:39:50
All the games in the Premier League will be tough and any complacency from any player will be found out and may cost the team as a whole. The next few games against Man City, Spurs, Chelsea and Swansea will certainly provide a yardstick.
21 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:42:33
22 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:47:34
What impressed me was the fact he is aware that he wasn't up to his high standards last season and was man enough to admit it.
An additional note IMHO is that I'm happy for him to take penalties as that could help him challenge for top scorer and fill him full of confidence.
23 Posted 17/08/2015 at 12:54:43
24 Posted 17/08/2015 at 13:15:28
Sometimes you have to accept a player's limitations and play to their strengths. If we focus on his back to goal work we'll make him less awful in that area, but if we focus on his exceptional strengths then he can be great in those areas. Maybe even world class.
Rom's limitations haven't suddenly disappeared; we simply played to his strengths. And what strengths they are!
I'm happy to get excited about that performance. When was the last time you saw a better forward display in a blue (or at least an Everton) shirt?
25 Posted 17/08/2015 at 13:17:46
It's a valid point. This could be like the day Watson, Ferguson, McFadden smashed Leeds and it turned out that they were actually in decline.
26 Posted 17/08/2015 at 13:50:19
He may be better suited to playing away from home where we can play on the break & teams aren't so deep. We can get the ball ahead of him more & arrive on things.
His most consistent asset is his mouth.
27 Posted 17/08/2015 at 14:19:47
Where we hurt them is where these players were missing as in Coleman ran riot on the right with not much coming back at him, Lukaku and Barkley were left with no pressure and gaping holes in the middle of their defence!
Like I said, not taking anything away from a good performance but not jumping on the over-the-top comments bandwagon after one away win!
Win Sunday I'll be dancing!
28 Posted 17/08/2015 at 14:33:16
29 Posted 17/08/2015 at 14:39:36
He and whoever the Everton manager is will need to find a way to give him a proper amount of rest and yet still the fitness training he requires to be effective in the seasons following summer international tournaments.
30 Posted 17/08/2015 at 14:52:26
'Twas ever thus on here. Last week we were doomed, our manager was an incompetent buffoon, the squad was threadbare and we were most likely heading into a relegation battle.
This week we have a squad of bright young players who have now displayed some tactical flexibility and bring on City.
As usual the truth lies somewhere in between and it probably won't be until Christmas given the relative unbalance of tough games early on before we can really see how the season is going to pan out.
Still it feels a whole lot better this week.
32 Posted 17/08/2015 at 15:14:38
34 Posted 17/08/2015 at 16:19:55
35 Posted 17/08/2015 at 16:24:00
36 Posted 17/08/2015 at 17:21:45
37 Posted 17/08/2015 at 17:24:24
38 Posted 17/08/2015 at 19:14:32
39 Posted 17/08/2015 at 19:21:46
40 Posted 17/08/2015 at 19:41:50
Not sure how you forgot to mention Le Tissier.
41 Posted 17/08/2015 at 20:31:29
It does make you smile though when 22-year-old sportsmen admit that they weren't fit when the season starts, there's really no excuse unless you're injured.
Sunday's game against Man City is going to be a real nail-biter; if we're to win, we're going to have to score 2+ goals... Aguero is possibly the best striker with the ball at his feet I've ever seen, god knows what he's worth if he was sold!
45 Posted 17/08/2015 at 21:23:10
50 Posted 17/08/2015 at 22:03:20
Two results have always stuck with me from two seasons ago. The three nil win over Arsenal. And about ten days later the 3-2 defeat to Palace. Martinez for no reason tinkered with a winning team. Let's hope that he has learnt from past mistakes. Let this first eleven have a go at Man City. No need to tamper.
Everton, with the right service.
53 Posted 17/08/2015 at 22:30:55
Even a full strength Southampton would have had a tough game.
Let's just hope RM doesn't revert to type against Man City and we play 4-1-4-1 again with Barry sitting in front of the back 4 and McCarthy playing further forward.
55 Posted 17/08/2015 at 22:43:05
56 Posted 17/08/2015 at 23:36:38
57 Posted 17/08/2015 at 23:55:33
I would prefer Aguerro to be shackled but was thinking along the same lines seeing as Besic kept Messi so quiet in the World Cup.
58 Posted 18/08/2015 at 01:25:46
When we found you......you were alone, friendless.... in West Bromwich.
59 Posted 18/08/2015 at 01:38:28
60 Posted 18/08/2015 at 01:58:52
Messi ran unchallenged from the halfway line and scored in that game while Besic fell over his teammate when Messi went to shoot. It's a bit like saying Peter Reid kept Maradona quiet in 86 except for that time he left him and five others for dead to run 60 yards and score.
62 Posted 18/08/2015 at 03:32:26
Messi got the ball passed to him about 10 yards from the Bosnia box and Besic tracked him all the way across the edge of the box and would have seen him away but for his team mate going down in front of him and tripping him up.
I understand what you say about Maradonna's goal but this was not that similar IMO.
Anyway it was widely reported that Messi had his quietest game for some time thanks to Besic so I still believe in Besic ability to man mark someone.
64 Posted 18/08/2015 at 06:41:21
I was one who saw Besic in his first pre-season games and drooled over what he could bring to us. Unfortunately his first season didn't quite fulfill that promise. But I still have hopes.
65 Posted 18/08/2015 at 11:19:24
Meanwhile, we were lucky to play Southampton whilst they were missing Mick Channon - the best striker in England ....in 1976
66 Posted 18/08/2015 at 11:52:56
We should accommodate a stopper / wrecker in the four-man midfield. Maybe Besic in place of Barry. Also McCarthy. With instructions to stop them playing.
I don't fear Man City. Everton on their day can take any team. But I stress "on their day". What Everton team will turn up?
Stop City playing. But not at the expense of not giving ourselves a chance of winning. We don't need to start parking buses this early in the season. Let them worry about our playmakers. COYBs.
67 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:13:29
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