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Why Romelu Lukaku deserves more credit

Football aside, Romelu Lukaku's story of his childhood would certainly have struck a chord with many. The Manchester United forward showed a side to him that not many were aware of. Lukaku promised his mother and grandad that he would become a footballer and what a footballer he has become....

Before his move to Manchester United, there was criticism thrown at the forward's 'lack of intelligence' and his supposed first touch. Both of these criticisms are perhaps largely unfair on Romelu Lukaku. To brand a player who is currently Belgium's leading goalscorer at the age of 25 as 'unintelligent' is naive at best. In fact, Lukaku is well-versed in more languages I care to name. Early in his career his whole-round play was something he perhaps was lacking. However, after recording his highest ever assist tally this season it is safe to say this particular criticism is being answered by Belgium's number 9. The famous bad first-touch myth is perhaps also very unfair on Lukaku. Romelu Lukaku's ball retention rate is actually one of the highest in the league amongst the forwards. No forward recorded more assists than Lukaku in the Premier League. Credit also has to be given to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Despite popular opinion, Mourinho has had a very positive effect on the likes of Lukaku, Lingard and others. The cynic inside me wonders how Lukaku's improvement would be perceived if he was perhaps under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola in the blue half of Manchester...

Romelu Lukaku Stats 2017/18 (Inc internationals)

Matches played: 60 Goals: 37 Assists: 7

Manchester United haven't quite had the free-flowing attack their fans have been used to this season. And this has certainly affected Lukaku, Harry Kane has comfortably been provided far more chances per-game than the Manchester United forward. Despite this, Lukaku still ended the season with 27 goals. He dished out big performances against Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool; this season despite his apparent lack of success against the top 6. There is no doubt that Lukaku however is still a work in progress. Assessing Lukaku's performance at Anfield earlier this season in comparison with the return fixture at Old Trafford, you would be forgiven if you assumed the performances were from two different players. Overall, his build-up play and general awareness on the pitch has improved drastically. Romelu Lukaku is 25 years of age and is only going to get better, in a time where the great number 9's of the world like Lewandowski, Luis Suarez are reaching the back-ends of their careers, the door is open for an individual like Lukaku to take his place amongst the European elite. 4 goals in the opening 2 games at the World Cup is a very good start, it is now down to Lukaku to build on it and prove to the world that he is one of the very best...

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