Before the start of the new season, many expected Romelu Lukaku to start ahead of ahead of Fernando Torres. The Belgian striker came on the back off a successful season with West Brom in which he scored 17 goals. Yet, Mourinho has persisted with the experience of Torres and Demba Ba in the first two matches. Lukaku has come on as a substitute in both of them.
There is much more to Lukaku than making an impact in the last 20 min of the match. He was better than both Torres and Demba Ba in the last two matches. There is a danger of the 20-year-old being tagged as a ‘super-sub’.
“If a player can improve us, why not? Samuel Eto’o, Wayne Rooney, I have heard everyone. I am not scared. Let them come.
“I’m getting closer to where I need to be and hopefully also closer to the starting line-up, my main ambition.
“Compared to the first year, when I arrived here it was all about learning and taking a bit off all the players, now it’s about starting games,” said Lukaku.
Lukaku vs Manchester United (this guy can play!):
During pre-season, Mourinho said that Lukaku is capable of challenging Torres for a starting place.
“The kid is good. Of course Lukaku can challenge Torres. He is learning to play the way I want.
“It’s up to the kid but he’s open and intelligent to learn the kind of movement we want.
“The role he played [in his last outing] was the right movement. We don’t want the striker just aiming between the central defenders, but making movements, sometimes between the midfield or moving wide,” said Mourinho during pre-season.
Torres was left out of the match against Aston Villa presumably to keep him fresh for the Manchester United match. Lukaku scored a hat-trick against United last season, but it looks like he may have to settle for a place on the bench on Monday night.
Come on Mourinho, it is about time you gave the youngster a chance. He deserves it.