Competitive Lukaku wants to make history with Everton

, 11 April, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent

It's the dream scenario for many Evertonians: Romelu Lukaku helps fire the Blues into the Champions League and Everton find a way to keep the Belgian marksman on a permanent basis after this summer.

A few short weeks ago, it seemed to be little more than a pipe dream: successive away defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea while Lukaku recovered from an ill-timed ankle injury seemed to have ended Everton's hopes of finishing in the top four and the 20-year-old's departure from Goodison Park — either back to Chelsea or somewhere else guaranteeing Champions League football — seemed likely.

Now, with six straight wins in the League and four more goals from the Belgian marksman since his return as a substitute against West Ham United at the beginning of last month, the top-four dream has been revived and with it hopes of signing Lukaku from a club who, if media reports are any indication, are looking at other long-term striking solutions.

The 20-year-old is certain to be hot property this summer, more so if his future hasn't been fixed before the World Cup and he sets Brazil alight with his country, but Roberto Martinez is hopeful that it's happiness with his surroundings and prospects rather than material gain that will be instrumental in Lukaku's decision. And if his elated celebration of his goal against Arsenal last Sunday is any indication, the "once Everton has touched you" effect has taken hold of a striker clearly enjoying his football on Merseyside.

[Romelu is] a grounded and intelligent young man, who is not going to be swayed by the materialistic aspect of the game," Martinez says in The Mirror.

"What can we offer him? Just enjoying his football. As a player, happiness is something that is very important. When you can offer football happiness it's an incredible opportunity.

Lukaku, for his part, is necessarily focused on the here-and-now but, while his initial decision to leave Chelsea on loan last September and join Everton was very much about what was best for him and his development, his latest rhetoric is very much concerned with helping the Blues to the promised land of the Champions League. His beaming four-finger salute to Martinez as he raced towards the bench having put Everton 2-0 up over Arsenal was testament to that.

It meant fourth, Lukaku told Greg O'Keeffe in the Liverpool Echo. For me that's my ambition, that's why I play football now — to make history and leave my mark wherever I go.

At this moment, that's my drive. I'm a fierce competitor and I want to win every game on the run-in.

I've said, since I came back from my injury, I'll do everything that I can to help the club qualify for the Champions League and do well in the Cup. We didn't succeed in winning the cup but in the league I think we're all good.

Though he has the distractions of the constant speculation over his future beyond this season and the World Cup, the 20-year-old has been doing an impressive job of remaining focused on the job at hand — helping Everton — and scoring goals is a means to that end.

I want to leave my mark in so many ways but ending in fourth would be the main one, he continued. I play football to win and I say in every interview I've done I focus more on winning than scoring goals.

Scoring goals comes as part of that because you need goals to win games and that's my job. But the focus is winning games because if I'm only set on scoring I might be happy if I scored but we don't win and that's never good.

Football is a team sport and there are 18 people involved on a match day, 25 in the senior squad. You need to think about your team-mates and the fans in the stadium.

That's why ending fourth would mean a lot. I would have pushed myself to another level and reached a higher level than last year.

As far as what happens after this season, that's a question for the summer as far as Lukaku is concerned and there is much still to aim for in a Blue jersey over the last month of the season.

I'm trying not to look too far ahead for now, he added. This is a team that is growing and for me I just want to help Everton instead of thinking about myself and the next step.

There are so many things on the horizon like big games against Man Utd and City, then the World Cup, so I have to give it a place in my head but not focus on it. For now, it's just helping Everton finish fourth and then we'll see.

Quotes sourced from Liverpool Echo

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