One of the consequences of Everton’s poor form this season has been the focus on striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international was signed from Chelsea for a club record £ 28 million after he impressed in his season-long loan spell last season. After making 29 appearances for Everton last season, he scored a spectacular 15 goals and this was largely responsible for the club almost qualifying for the Champions League after a long time. In the end, they had to settle for a Europa league spot but even this was viewed as a major improvement compared to previous seasons.
The expectations surrounding Everton were raised immensely after Lukaku was signed on a permanent deal. However, the striker has been disappointing so far and this has also coincided with the club being unable to get consistent results. There is a danger of Lukaku being criticised for the poor defensive record of Everton this campaign. The toffees have the worst defensive record in all of Europe’s top five leagues after having conceded a mammoth 16 goals from seven matches. They have taken just one victory throughout the campaign and sit just one place above the relegation zone.
Martinez, however, has defended the form of Lukaku by saying that the striker is not completely fit yet. “Rom is not someone who looks for an excuse. He understands that the potential he has as a footballer will always bring huge expectations. He embraces that. The situation we have is that he was unable to get a full pre-season after the World Cup and the knock he had so early in the season meant we couldn’t allow him to have a proper introduction into work. He had to get himself fit by playing games and now we’re paying for that,” said Martinez. Lukaku has two goals this season.