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Everton should now see the real Romelu Lukaku

Striker says he is now finally 100% fit and raring to go

Chris Brunskill

The £28million price-tag on Romelu Lukaku's head was always going to have an impact on how his performances were judged this season.

The fee was more than what Everton generally spend in entire summers let alone on one player so it was little surprise that the Belgian was expected to justify that huge sum of cash straight away.

Except most Evertonians know that, at 21, Lukaku is not the finished article and is prone to the odd poor performance. Everton paid the money as much for his potential as for his ability to play now.

Unfortunately it is easy to forget how young Lukaku is and he is often judged unfairly, a victim of his own sparkling success over the past 12 months.

To make things worse for Lukaku he suffered a toe injury at the start of the season and needed injections just to get himself through games.

As mere spectators it is hard to judge just how much a knock or niggle can impact on a player's game. And sometimes it is those players prepared to play through the pain barrier that get the most criticism from the fans because they subsequently don't perform to the best of their ability.

That certainly seems the case with Lukaku, who has been criticised by some this season for some below-par displays.

Some players, not necessarily at Everton, would prefer to sit games out if they don't feel 100% fit- or in Raheem  Sterling's case: 'tired'.

It means they will escape criticism but also ducks responsibility, an attitude you do not want in your squad.

Lukaku has started all but one Premier League game so far this season, scoring four goals, yet by his own admission he has not been fully fit.

We should be encouraged that he is still prepared give his all for the cause even when injured - he easily could have given his excuses and stayed on the bench.

The exciting thing for Everton is the thought of what he can achieve now he is ready to go.

With Ross Barkley and Samuel Eto'o working industriously behind him, the former Chelsea man may make that £28million fee look like a bargain in the coming weeks.

Speaking of his injury , Lukaku said:

"The first two months I was injured but I wanted to play because my team-mates needed me.

"It was an experience for me, for the future. I tried to help them but I wasn’t 100% so I couldn’t be as dangerous as I wanted.

"I’d taken a knock in training. The tendon underneath my toe was shut down completely and the joint on top badly bruised.

"I couldn’t push off to sprint because the tendon would almost explode. I had to have three injections before the Arsenal game and then the same against Chelsea.

"It was difficult for me because I’m a runner. That’s a big part of my game. Once you lose your main quality it gives you a real challenge. I needed to play more as a target man because I’m tall and very strong.

"But nowadays in football you need pace. Defenders are so quick; guys like Sylvain and Jags – when I spring against them in training onto balls down the channels it’s difficult for me and them.

"I’ve always been a player who is about movement, making runs all day long. I will do everything I can to always stay like that.

"So now I’m 100%. There are exciting weeks ahead for me. I’ve been training well and scored two in the last three games. I feel well."