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Can Romelu Lukaku fill Wayne Rooney's boots?

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
897   //    08 Feb 2018, 00:18 IST

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Lukaku celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Bournemouth

When the Old Trafford gates opened

Romelu Lukaku reached Manchester United with a hefty price tag of 75 million pounds. Following Wayne Rooney's departure, the big Belgian has stepped up as a promising replacement for the Red Devils' legend. Rooney's departure was heartbreaking for United fans, but they were also excited about what was coming next.

Marveling audiences at Everton, Lukaku caught the attention of United boss Jose Mourinho, who pushed to get the big man to Old Trafford. There was no better time to have secured the Belgian striker's signature than the summer transfer window.

Performance till now

Recent performances show that Lukaku is still getting used to filling the famed first-choice Manchester United striker's spot. His performances at times haven't been up to his own standards.

Lukaku is partnering well with the talent-packed United squad. The team's overall chemistry looks set. Scoring 12 goals in the 25 Premier League games he has played, Lukaku is still only beginning to feel at home.

Despite wilting away in a few big games, Lukaku is already a fan favorite at Manchester United. We all know what the striker is capable of, considering his impressive performances for Everton and a few for Manchester United in recent months.

For the 24-year-old, a place in one of England's most prestigious clubs is both uplifting and well-deserved. Yet, the occasional let downs on the field are creating a lot of doubt towards the young star.

Manchester United v FC Basel - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v FC Basel - UEFA Champions League

Can he emulate Rooney's greatness?

A massive frame, towering at over 190 cm, Lukaku is powerful in the air. Being a large man, long strides add an advantage to his pacey dribbling. However, has he been able to pursue his best effort at United so far?

Rooney set a benchmark that many professional players can only dream of. Taking over from the acclaimed Englishman, Romelu Lukaku has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Arguably, the Belgian has not quite lived up to the hype around his transfer as of now. Since he joined, he has contributed by creating attacking opportunities and scoring some really good goals for United.

However, a short stint of poor performances from the athlete has made him a subject to much criticism in the past few weeks. Nevertheless, he seems keen on not allowing the pressure to get the best of him. Now that United stand second on the points table after 26 competitive games, Lukaku is eyeing the remainder of the season with a lot of enthusiasm.

Bigger opportunities are yet to come for Lukaku and he will be striving to beat the best on these occasions. This was the challenge he took up when he first slipped into the United outfit.

Playing style

Being one of the only five players to have scored 50 goals before their 23rd birthday, the young Belgian only heighten's the hopes of United fans. He is a fortress of energy, strength, and agility.

Every step that the forward takes in a United jersey is opening up opportunities for a brighter career. Built on a fortified passion for the game and a poacher's mentality, he is fully aware of what's expected of him.

Lukaku revealed his admiration for Mourinho's tactical ability in a recent interview. He stated that the manager's winning mentality is something that has inspired him ever since his days at Chelsea.

By the looks of it, the number 9 is a good fit in Mourinho's current squad. The young athlete can only improve under his guidance. With a much needed aggressive mentality, powerful displays and prying eye for goal, he is an attacker predestined to excel in the extremely challenging Premier League. Lukaku should ideally materialize his Old Trafford aspirations and Mou's expectation from him without cracking under the pressure he will find himself in.

Whether he will live up to the legend of Rooney at United or not cannot be predicted. However, with his current records and strong goals, Lukaku's name is already chanted loudly in the United stands.

The tag as Belgium's all-time leading top scorer is just another addition to his colorful career thus far. Fans would definitely expect more from their star players and Lukaku, with his incredible talent and thumping price tag, is on the top of that list.

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