Premier League news

Romelu Lukaku hailed by Phil Jagielka

October 2, 2013
By Mike Whalley

Romelu Lukaku is good enough to shake off comparisons with Didier Drogba and become a star in his own right, according to Everton captain Phil Jagielka.

• O'Farrell: Lukaku lights up Goodison Park

Lukaku, 20, has scored three goals in his first two Premier League appearances for Everton since arriving on a season’s loan from Chelsea on September 2.

The Belgium international forward marked his debut with the winner in a 3-2 victory at West Ham on September 21.

And he followed that up with a powerful display as Newcastle were defeated 3-2 at Goodison Park on Monday night, scoring twice and setting up another goal for Ross Barkley.

Lukaku’s goal prowess and physical presence have seen him cited as a potential long-term Stamford Bridge successor to Drogba, whose goals helped Chelsea to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League in eight years between 2004 and 2012.

But Jagielka told the Daily Telegraph: "Drogba doesn’t mean anything to us at Everton. We know a lot about him of course, but we don’t want to draw comparisons.

"Rom’s his own person, his own player, he’s got his own style.

"He plays a bit different, but I can see why people have made those comparisons -- and at the end of the day it’s not a bad guy to be compared to. But for us, we just want him to keep progressing as a person and a player and if we keep him firing on all cylinders all season he will really help us out.

"He’s a real presence up front. First and foremost he’s a fantastic lad, on the pitch and the training field, he’s just desperate to do well.

"He’s definitely a handful. I try to stay away from him in training, to be honest.

"Obviously he wasn’t quite getting a nod at Chelsea and that’s made him even hungrier than he was last ­season. He’s a fantastic acquisition for us. He’s a great player and has probably taken us up to that next level. If he can keep himself fit and keep himself confident, he could be great for us.

"He has all the attributes to be a top-class player and he’s still quite a young boy. When you look at him and he’s so physically well developed, you expect him to be in his late-20s but he’s just a young man. It makes it quite scary to think, really.

"Possibly he makes the wrong decisions from time to time, but when he gets everything right, when you look how he was against Newcastle -- his assist for Ross’s goal and the fact he took his two fantastically well. He’s got everything.

"His vision is superb too, he can hold players off, and he’s someone the other midfielders and attacking players love to play with. Competition for places up there is really strong at the moment."

Lukaku’s three goals mean he has scored more times than any of Chelsea’s forwards this season.

That has raised questions as to why their manager Jose Mourinho allowed him to go out on loan.

Lukaku, who hit 17 goals in 20 Premier League starts on loan at West Brom last season, stated on joining Everton that he felt he deserved a chance at Chelsea -- despite competition from Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

But Jagielka said: "Chelsea just brought in Eto’o and they’ve got Torres and Ba, so it’s difficult.

"They have an amazing squad but for whatever reason were not offering Rom as much football as he wanted. It makes a difference that he knows he’s going to play."

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