Lukaku will only get bet­ter with age: Ever­ton’s Barry

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Ever­ton’s Romelu Lukaku is on course to be­come a top striker and Roberto Martinez is the ideal man­ager to get the best out of the Bel­gian, ac­cord­ing to team mate Gareth Barry.

Lukaku scored a brace in Ever­ton’s 4-0 Premier League de­feat of base­ment side As­ton Villa on Satur­day, tak­ing him to 11 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions for his club this sea­son. The pow­er­ful cen­tre-for­ward also be­came only the fifth player to net 50 Premier League goals be­fore his 23rd birth­day, join­ing an elite group that in­cludes Rob­bie Fowler, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.

Martinez’s de­ci­sion to sign Lukaku for a re­ported 28 mil­lion pounds ($42 mil­lion) from Chelsea last sea­son raised eye­brows not just be­cause of the size of the fee in­volved but also be­cause of ques­tions over the player’s at­ti­tude and com­mit­ment.

But with Ever­ton sev­enth in the ta­ble af­ter 13 games and just a point out­side the Euro­pean places, and Lukaku on nine league goals and sec­ond in the scor­ing charts be­hind Le­ices­ter City’s Jamie Vardy, Martinez’s gam­ble on a player that Chelsea man­ager Jose Mour­inho was will­ing to let go is pay­ing div­i­dends.

“In terms of Rom’s age, he is go­ing to be right up there at the top of the strik­ers I’ve played with,” mid­fielder Barry told the club’s web­site (www.ev­er­tonfc.com). “Be­cause of how long he’s been around and be­cause of how big and strong he is, peo­ple forget his age.

“He is still learn­ing and un­der the man­ager here, his stan­dards and per­for­mances are go­ing to keep go­ing up. “Like any striker, it is all about con­fi­dence. He had a strong pre-sea­son and hit the ground run­ning.”

On cur­rent form, Ever­ton will hope to leapfrog West Ham United in the ta­ble when they travel to Dean Court to take on third-from-bot­tom Bournemouth at the week­end, but Barry is tak­ing noth­ing for granted.

“Like many of the teams that come up, they start well and then find their level and at the mo­ment they are grind­ing re­sults out rather than play­ing the foot­ball that they were used to last sea­son,” the 34-year-old said. “We have got to ex­pect a tough game be­cause they can cause any teams prob­lems at home.” — Reuters

VAN­COU­VER: Van­cou­ver Canucks’ Adam Crack­nell crashes into New Jer­sey Devils goalie Cory Sch­nei­der and the net af­ter be­ing taken down by Devils’ Adam Lars­son, front, of Swe­den, dur­ing the first pe­riod of an NHL hockey game in Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, on Sun­day. — AP

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