Is Romelu Lukaku overly criticised?

Romelu Lukaku has hit the ground running for Manchester United so far this season, scoring 11 goals in 10 games, as well as assisting Henrikh Mkhitaryan for his goal against Everton. He has no doubt shown his unbelievable finishing, quality, movement and intelligence upfront.

However, there seems to be some crazy focus on what the United number nine isn’t rather than what he is, even when he is in the form of his life and showing just how clinical he really is. Lukaku has scored in every game in his Manchester United career apart from the 2-0 home win against Leicester City, yet certain pundits on various platforms seem to find something to criticise him for.

Alan Pardew can be quoted as saying; “Romelu Lukaku’s hold-up play is probably his weak area, coming to Manchester, that is definitely an area he needs to improve,” on Sky Sports coverage of United’s match against Swansea. The former Palace boss followed this up by saying the striker is “little bit lazy in his control”, which has since been ridiculed by Reds on social media considering Lukaku was involved in some of United’s best pieces of built up play in the game.

The frustration from fans of Manchester United is very much understandable when it comes to criticism of their on-form striker as it seems when ex-professionals or journalist compliment the Belgian’s game, they seem to follow it up with a criticism.

Another trend when talking about players like Romelu Lukaku or Paul Pogba is the use of adjectives clichés like ‘big’, ‘powerful’ and ‘athletic’. The men paid to watch football and give their thoughts are more interested in the player’s physique and physical attributes rather than their technical ability and intelligence.

The most recent example of this came from ex-United player, Owen Hargreaves when analysing the recent fixture against CSKA Moscow on BT Sports, in which Lukaku scored twice. Hargreaves commented on the opening goal of the game which was a Romelu Lukaku header saying; “he doesn’t have to do much, he’s just too big, too strong”.

The Englishman completely disregards Lukaku’s involvement in the build-up to the goal. The forward begins the move with an exceptional through ball out wide to Anthony Martial, before continuing his run into the box and getting in between the two defenders to win the ball in the air and get his ninth goal in as many games.

These may seem like minor comments with myself making a bigger deal than what needs to be made. However, there is a clear difference in the way these respected ex-professionals like Hargreaves and Pardew speak about Lukaku compared to someone like Harry Kane. The Spurs’ striker is hailed as “intelligent” whereas United’s £75 million man is described as “powerful” by Arsenal invincible, Martin Keown in his interview in the Daily Mail.

Although the comments about the striker’s power, strength and pace may be correct and they may be his main assets, there is still a lack of respect for his movement, reading of the game and overall intelligence. Romelu Lukaku may not be perfect or faultless but he is a victim of much harsher assessments than the likes of Kane or Alvaro Morata receives.

Before he joined Manchester United, there was much talk of his ‘first touch’ or lack of. I believe this is simply because of his size. If you were to look at Lukaku and not know much about football, you would think he may be quite heavy-handed with his first touch. But these remarks about his touch have come from not just fans of rival clubs on social media but also the likes of Pardew who have watched football for decades.

Despite this ignorance from those who are supposed to know more than a thing or two about football, I think the talk of Lukaku having poor ball control or hold up play is absolute nonsense. He has proven so far this season he is more than capable of getting the ball into feet and holding it up under pressure before laying it back to his supporting teammates. It is also no coincidence that quite a few of his first touches have ended up in the back of the net.

Pundits, rival fans, and journalists alike can continue to denounce and disparage Lukaku’s performances for Manchester United all they like but I have every faith that he will continue to prove them wrong.

Written by Harry Ogilvie


Other news you may also like

April 1, 2014

After a game where we were expected to get rolled over, positivity is the word of the day. Here’s what we learned tonight against the Germans. Solid defending It i… Read more

November 28, 2015

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening after Jamie Vardy broke the record held by Ruud van Nistelrooy by scoring in … Read more

September 11, 2014

After Michael Owen’s ridiculous claims that young players won’t get a look in at Manchester United, Assistant Manager Ryan Giggs has claimed precisely the con… Read more

February 1, 2015

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has spoken about how he felt after seeing his side play as a team on Saturday afternoon in the 3-1 victory over Leicester City i… Read more

copyright: MW

%d bloggers like this: