Everton Musings - Romelu Lukaku
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Summer 2004 and Thomasz Radzinski seems certain to be leaving Everton. Not without one or two soundbites in the press, including this little beauty:

"I don't think it's a good place to be at the moment because next season we will be fighting another relegation battle when good players want to be testing and improving themselves by playing in Europe," he said."We have lost a lot of players this season and yet we have only brought one in and I am afraid I don't think Marcus Bent will be able to stop us from struggling again next season."

The problem with these quotes (aside from the fact Everton were still paying his wages when he said this) is that Thomasz had scored 8 league goals in 2003/2004. Anyone else who had the misfortune of watching Thomasz and Everton FC vintage 2004, will tell you: had he been able to score some of the chances he missed that year, and just.... Well just played football better than he did... Maybe we wouldn't have struggled a badly as we did. Thomasz left (for Fulham) and continued to underwhelm, managing to bag 10 in 73 for them. Of course, Marcus Bent came in and you don't need me to tell you about the season that followed. Neither Marcus nor Thomasz are two of the better players I've seen play for Everton, but Marcus gave his everything for the cause. His game had major flaws, but his up tempo style, harrying of defenders as he led the line alone was an important facet of an average team that finished higher than any other I have watched before or since. You see- some might read this and dismiss this by saying 'Oh, let's just play Naismith then because he works harder?' well no- ability and work rate aren't mutually exclusive. Keeping it parochial, I've been told sob stories about the work rate of Ian Rush playing for our friends across the way, and anyone of my age or younger can't argue with the ability or work rate of Luis Suarez. If Rom showed the same intent on the pitch as he does talking to the press, maybe we would have someone approaching one of the aforementioned- currently, we do not.

Fast forward to summer 2015 and Romelu Lukaku has some interesting quotes attributed to him today:

"I want to win titles. I want it know how it feels to play in the big games, I'm 22. It's time to win trophies. I won't play on the wing anymore. I've told the manager too: I'm useless as a winger. I will only score goals as a striker. The manager is the boss, but when something is going wrong, I tell him straight away. I hear what the others are saying too."

Let me begin by saying- Thomasz Radzinski and Romelu Lukaku both played for Everton and Anderlecht. There the similarities end on the football side. Romelu is an exceptionally talented young player- one who could go on to become one of the best in the world. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Lukaku has all the traits necessary to be as good as he tells us he wants to be, and I hope he is at Everton in 5 years and helping us to win titles.
Rom is far from the finished product though. There were plenty of times last year when his play was hampering us more than it was helping us. He scored 10 league goals last year. Only two more than Thomasz Radzinski before he sought to better himself as a player and ended up at Fulham. Everton were poor last season and the way the team set up to play did not suit his game at all, in his defence. I don't think anyone can deny, however, that Romelu didn't give his teammates enough either: his first touch is inconsistent, his movement is questionable, his ability to be caught offside unnecessarily is outstanding, his work rate is lacking at times, he doesn't lead the line particularly well, he doesn't challenge for aerial balls as well as he should, and he doesn't consistently dominate opposition players with his strength the way he should. Again, let me be clear- Romelu has a chance to be a top player, but his game isn't there yet.

He scored 20 goals last season- great. I'm thrilled we have a striker scoring 20 goals in a season, but let's be clear- he scored 10 in the league in 32 appearances. You couldn't help but watch some of the games we played in Europe this year and think we weren't playing particularly good teams. Goals win games and we haven't had enough goal scoring forwards of recent times, so to have Rom scoring 20 is great. However, in the league he didn't quite manage to muster 1 in 3. This deserves some context- Everton didn't play well last year and certainly didn't play to Romelu's strengths nearly enough, but like Radzinski before him- if his own performances had been better, perhaps we would have done better as a team. I'm not asking for him to carry the team by the scruff of the neck and cover the clear inadequacies of some of his other teammates, but maybe if he had have been able to work (run) into a position to receive a ball from his midfielders at his feet, get the thing under control and then bring some of the others into play a little further up the pitch than we were, that might have helped.

I'm sure plenty will disagree with me on this and it is a matter of opinions, that's fine, but if, like Thomasz Radzinski and so many others before Rom, he played better- we would be better- and that goes for every single one of the team. Maybe if Rom were to honestly critique his own performances he would be a little more introverted with his thoughts, and just focus on getting better. I'm not knocking ambition, Rom is clearly not short of ambition, but is that really what this about? Are we suggesting the other players don't have ambition by not making comments like those he has today- or indeed has in the past?

Names don't need to be named here, but some of the players in our squad probably aren't good enough for Everton, others are certainly not. Some won't ever play for a better club and some are probably at about the right level for their ability. Rom has a shot to go to the very top (sadly that isn't Everton, as much as I want it to be) but any more so than Ross Barkley (who struggled more than Rom last year, but I'll come back to that)? Certainly no more than John Stones on strength of performances last year. I don't hear them making comments like this all too often. And they'll go. One day, they'll leave for one reason or another.

You see Rom, Ross Barkley (infuriatingly) actually played on the wing last year- had he have moaned about it- I wouldn't have liked it but I would have understood it more than you saying it. The funny thing is- probably the most destructive performance I've witnessed from you in an Everton shirt was on the wing against Arsenal at the end of the 2013-14 season. But you're right, you're not a winger. So is it that you don't want to play on the wing? Or that you want your name in the press. Again.

Call me a cynic, but I think you want people talking about you, and although you don't explicitly say you want to leave- I'm going to fill in the gaps for you on that one: I don't think you really want to be here. I think like Radzinski before you, you look about and think 'I can do better than this' and you probably can. The shame of it is, if you and your teammates had performed better, maybe we'd all be looking forward to next year.
So where are you going to go when you do move, Rom? Wolfsburg... Maybe. Athleti? I doubt it. Instead of wanting to play for a contender: why don't you roll your sleeves up and help make us one? You're a year removed from being sold by a club that believe it or not, just won the title. Surely that isn't lost on you? Sold by a manager who said you had a bit too much to say for yourself. Surely that isn't lost on you?

But hey, Fulham have more chance of winning a title next year than we do...

Everton Musings. Follow on twitter @EvertonMusings 

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Comments about Everton Musings - Romelu Lukaku
Brilliant post, great to read the damn obvious in black and white, saying it exactly how it is!! Thankyou
paddy, dublin, 10:39 PM 4/06/2015
What a really intelligent and well written article. I think that this sums up the feelings of many of us. If Rom feels he is of the standard that his press interviews indicate then of course he shouls sign for chelsea, ohhang on a minute didn't they tell him where to go saying he was not good enough, maybe he should sign for Man City, oh what they don't want him either..... Rom wake up mate. You have the POTENTIAL to be a world class player, the emphasis is on potential. You are not yet there. Get your head down and work hard at Everton. Make a name for yourself and then get your move to be a big team. By the way if you know your History everton are a big team, one of the oldest teams in england and one of the longest in the top flight of uk football. Stop moaning, bank your big bucks and do the job that you are very very very well paid to do! COYB
Deccy , 2 Dogs, 7:32 PM 4/06/2015
Couldn't agree more - musings or otherwise. De Bruyne is at Wolfsburg another of those famous Belgians ! Apart from footballers name 5 famous Belgians - after Tintin I'm struggling ! My feelings are that when Rom's compatriot Weasel Mirallas vanishes then it won't be long before Lukaku goes too. So who are we going to recruit in the close season some phenomenal pillock I assume? The silence is deafening.
Craig findlater, Romsey Hampshire, 12:18 PM 4/06/2015
Fook him , get at least the 28 million back , but also Roberto has to be given them funds to spend
waddersblue, the blue rock, 10:58 PM 3/06/2015
When a player says: 'I need to be in the Champions League regularly'. 'I need to win trophies consistently'; 'I need to play every week'. The club's response should be: 'Fine, you sign for Celtic next week'!! We would be deafened by the sound of furious back-tracking!
njr1330, liverpool, 10:54 PM 3/06/2015
Be surprised if we was made an offer we could not refuse. Got a lot to do to get back to a club that gets to the later stages of the champions league.
Paul, Wirral, 8:49 PM 3/06/2015
Bravo. Perfectly echoes my mind. I have just been having the same conversation today. However, if any player did have such ambitions, they should not be wearing the blue shirt. It about letting the football doing the talking.
Dg, Warsaw, 2:35 PM 3/06/2015
What a great assessment of Lukaku's season , lets hope he reads Blue kipper and digests your comments !!!
ian davies, burscough, 10:49 AM 3/06/2015
Very Very well thought post my friend, and i agree with you on each and every point!
DaveTheBlue, Blackburn, 9:36 AM 3/06/2015
Excellent post.
Matt L, Dubai, 9:35 AM 3/06/2015
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