Romelu Lukaku has experienced a meteoric rise to fame. Just two years after making his debut for Anderlect, 17 year old Lukaku’s ability has already been compared to that of Didier Drogba (also note the physical resemblance). He has started attracting the interest of clubs from around the world, including Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United and has even earned plaudits from Cristiano Ronaldo, who has called him “a fantastic young player”. You’d be excused if Lukaku has slipped under your radar, so here are five things that you need to know about the young Belgian striker.
1. Romelu Renama Lukaku was born on the 13th May 1993 which, as stated before makes him only 17. He signed his first professional contract with Belgian giants Anderlecht at the age of 16 and made his debut only 11 days later. Prior to his big break in the first team, he had been scoring goals for Anderlect since he was 12, an amazing 121 goals in 87 games for the youth side. He comes from a good footballing family, his father is former professional Roger Lukaku and his brother Jordan is also a professional player at Anderlecht.
2. The 09/10 Belgian Juliper Pro League season was his true breakthrough. At the age of 16 he finished as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals in 24 games and helped Anderlecht to the league title. It was on the back of this season that calls for an international call-up were finally heeded and he made his debut against Croatia in February 2010.
3. His physical attributes indicate that he would be well suited to a physical Premier League tussle. He stands at an immense 6ft 4in and over 14 stone – not bad for a lad mid-way through his teens, but it is also the nature of his game that appears to be well beyond his years. As well as outmuscling opponents, he can also out think them and out run them. He has the positional sense of a seasoned professional and can score goals on the ground and in the air.
4. Despite being Europe’s new hot property Lukaku is very ambitious, yet has his feet firmly on the ground. When asked what he thought of being branded ‘The new Drogba’, he replied: “It’s an honour. Didier, along with Adebayor, is my idol. But he is a world-class attacker and has scored more than 100 goals for Chelsea whereas I’m just starting out. It would be better to see how I compare when I’m his age.”
5. So is he interested in a move? The answer is yes, but not quite yet. He would like to finish school before seeking a move, and even then he is keen to repay Anderlect for their faith in him: “Anderlecht have been very good to me, I like it here and I may even stay until I’m 20”, Lukaku has said. This sentiment is also supported by his father Roger, who is the young player’s career counsellor and ensures he avoids the pitfalls that modern day players are subject to.