If Everton FC were the beneficiaries of misfiring Chelsea forwards last weekend, they now hope to profit from another with a point to prove
As another chance went begging from a Chelsea striker at Goodison on Saturday, Romelu Lukaku would have been forgiven for breaking into a wry grin.
While Samuel Eto’o, Andre Schurrle and Fernando Torres continued to fluff their lines, Lukaku was sat in the directors’ box shuffling his feet in frustration.
But if Everton FC were the beneficiaries of misfiring Chelsea forwards last weekend, they now hope to profit from another with a point to prove.
Lukaku exchanged London for Merseyside by signing on a season-long loan for Roberto Martinez’s mean earlier this month.
In a World Cup year, the Belgium international admits he couldn’t afford to spend a campaign on the sidelines having enjoyed a successful loan at West Bromwich Albion last term.
The 20-year-old believes his 17 goals for the Baggies last season meant he deserved a chance at parent club Chelsea. But when it became clear that wasn’t forthcoming, Goodison beckoned – and the biggest season of his fledgling career awaits.
“It was my choice to go out on loan because I wanted to play as much as possible,” says Lukaku. “I just got a certain feeling, and as a footballer you get these feelings.
“I had a good pre-season, but thought maybe it's better to leave again instead of going into the background. This is the situation I wanted to avoid.
“There's a World Cup coming and I want to confirm the year that I had last year.
“I don't want people to remember Romelu Lukaku of West Brom and me being in the background again.
“It was very important to go out and show myself again, because I don't want to be that player coming into the Premier League and doing well for one year then going into the background again.
“I always look at consistency because great players are always consistent and that's what I'm aiming at. If I do well this year people will take me seriously.”
Ineligible to face his parent club last weekend, Lukaku is raring to go and could be in line for a debut in the Premier League clash at West Ham United this coming Saturday.
“Everton is a good team with experienced players and it's a team who are always around the top six,” he says.
“When a team like Everton comes in, almost always in the top six, almost in the top four a few years ago, when they ask you, why not take the chance and go and do well there?
“The players' quality is very high and what I expected. We have a big squad and a lot of players who can do a lot of damage in this league, so they are expecting a lot of things.
“I'm very focused, I'm grounded and I know what to do to be successful, so I'm ready.”
Lukaku was allowed to depart Stamford Bridge after speaking with new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
“We had a very good conversation and he understands me completely,” says the striker. “I think from day one when we spoke everything was very clear.
“If you want to be prepared for a top club you have to be in a team where you play as much as possible.”
So does he have a future at Chelsea? “That's something you will have to ask the manager,” says Lukaku.
“The only thing I can do is show good performances for this club. I cannot force him to say this or say that, he is the manager and he has his own plans.
“All I can do is perform well for my team in this league and we will see how the future works out.”
Lukaku had the option to return to West Brom this season, but chose to step out of any perceived comfort zone.
“Sometimes you have to take it the hard way as well,” he says. “If you always choose the easy steps in life you will never get forward. I’m not saying I won’t go backwards at some point, but Everton are that step bigger.
“Plus when I played against Everton it was always a difficult game, so I’ve made my life a bit easier coming here!”