Why Romelu Lukaku Displays Ambition in Desire to Outscore Chelsea with Everton
"I want to score more goals than the strikers of Chelsea. We will see at the end of the season who made the best choice."
As brutal and cliched as it may sound, you're either a winner or loser in football. There's not much in between. Given his comments in the media this week (reported by The Independent), it's clear Romelu Lukaku is the former.
Sent out on loan to Everton by parent club Chelsea, Lukaku has a point to prove to his manager, Jose Mourinho. With 17 Premier League goals in a similar move to West Bromwich Albion in 2012-'13, the Belgian thought he may have done that last term.
But here he is, on the periphery, waiting for his chance at Stamford Bridge while none of Chelsea's strikers—Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba—are yet to score a Premier League goal between them since the season kicked off.
His response has been one that deserves credit and gives an interesting insight to his character.
In an age where young footballers have a tendency to believe their own hype all too easily, Lukaku is determined to prove Mourinho wrong in believing that he isn't ready to lead the line at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku isn't settling for telling the world what he is capable of, though, he is dedicated to showing us. And he is.
Five appearances for Everton this season have yielded four Premier League goals, but if we thought that stat was impressive, the performances have been even better.
Against Newcastle United in late September, Lukaku not only scored twice, but was in the words of Toffees manager Roberto Martinez, "unplayable."
"He is strong and powerful, but for a No. 9 to have that awareness around him—technically he is gifted. At times he was unplayable and that that means he opened spaces for others," Martinez said, as reported by ESPNFC.com.
He may only be a few months out of his teens, yet Lukaku displayed the maturity of a man beyond his years, leaving Fabricio Coloccini and his defensive partner Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa looking punch drunk.
Indeed, come half-time, Alan Pardew had seen enough devastation and swiftly replaced Yanga-Mbiwa, who was also relegated to the bench for the Magpies' following game with Cardiff City such was the impact of facing Lukaku.
Performances such as that from the Belgian are becoming a regular occurrence and he proved just as effective against Manchester City at the Eithad Stadium last weekend, opening the scoring.
Lukaku may have faded in that match, but so too did Everton, and it's too soon in his development for him to carry teams the way his hero Didier Drogba did at various times during his Chelsea career.
The signs are encouraging, however, with the Belgian's ambition being channeled in a positive way. Lukaku has seen how his Chelsea teammate Juan Mata has been tested by Mourinho this term, earning his manager's respect and a place back in the starting lineup.
A 12-month spell at Goodison Park marks a similar challenge for Lukaku, but he's already proving he is up to it.
"We will see at the end of the season who made the best choice," Lukaku says. At this present moment, it appears that is clear.
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