This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Romelu Lukaku has reminded Manchester United that they made the right decision in selling him on in the summer.
The Belgium international played 77 minutes as the Red Devils beat Russia 4-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.
And while he was on the scoresheet, Lukaku’s worst qualities were emphasised.
He had a total of 20 touches, per SofaScore, and, while he also registered an assist, his passing accuracy was just 46%. He completed six passes. That’s six, in total.
He did not win a ground duel, nor did Lukaku complete a dribble; he also lost possession on 10 occasions.
This is his career in a nutshell. Yes, the former Chelsea forward can score goals but he is also reckless on the ball and routinely loses possession.
With Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford still at United, one can understand why the Premier League club decided to shift the Belgian, who joined Inter Milan in the summer.
One goal, one assist and six successful passes isn’t a poacher’s performance; it’s a lucky performance and one that will distract supporters from his otherwise atrocious contribution.
Lukaku can’t really be trusted to hold the ball up.
He has a large frame and is clearly a muscular striker but he does not have the accuracy required to protect the ball and lay it off.
As previously noted, he can score goals and will continue to do so – he has already scored nine goals in 12 outings for Inter.
But he cannot be the man that a Premier League attack is constructed around and it appears that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer learned that early on.
He has now started to build around Rashford, who has nine goals in all competitions, and he is a lighter, more mobile forward, much in the mould of what Solskjaer used to be.
On this evidence, the Norwegian has made the right call.