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Saturday 3 December 2016

One-in-two strike rate par for the course for Romelu Lukaku

Published 08/12/2015 | 04:36

Romelu Lukaku earned his manager's praise after a goal against Crystal Palace extended his scoring run
Romelu Lukaku earned his manager's praise after a goal against Crystal Palace extended his scoring run

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is happy to be living up to the target of a goal every other game he set himself when he was 16.

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The Belgium international scored his 50th goal in 100 appearances for the Toffees to earn a point at home to Crystal Palace on Monday night.

In the three and a half seasons since leaving Chelsea, initially on loan to West Brom and then Everton, the 22-year-old has bagged a total of 67 in 138 matches.

And while his first 100 games goalscoring record for Everton is good enough only for eighth place on the club's all-time list - topped by Dixie Dean with an incredible 94 - it is a mark of a consistency which Lukaku is keen to maintain.

"To be honest that is the standard I've set myself since I was 16," he said.

"I always had one out of two so you always put your standard there, but if you can do better you have to do better.

"I am privileged to be in this position but I need to keep working, working, keeping my head down and staying focused on the next game.

"I don't feel the pressure now because I am in a flying high moment.

"When the game is over I look at it the next day and then I focus on the next game. I don't really look back to the past, I always try to look forward and live day by day."

Lukaku, for all his personal talent, has benefited hugely - particularly this season - from the wealth of attacking resources manager Roberto Martinez has at his disposal.

A partnership with Arouna Kone blossomed at the start of the season but what has really accelerated the goalscoring in recent weeks is the form of Gerard Deulofeu. The Barcelona graduate has provided half a dozen assists for the Belgian since establishing a regular place in the side and Lukaku has seven goals in his last six matches.

"I just gamble all the time and try to be on the move in the box and as soon as he puts the ball in, most of the time I am ahead of my man," Lukaku added.

"Hopefully we can keep it going - not just with him but the rest of the team.

"We all do a shift to help. Everyone just does the role they are doing in the position they play.

"I think Ross (Barkley) tries to look for the assists and tries to get goals, Arouna tries to score and put in a shift because he physically overpowers people and Gerry is a one-v-one player and we try to look for him because we know he has that quality.

"We have loads of players like Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Steven Naismith who bring that extra something to the team. That competition for places is hard but we need to keep fighting if we want to make it."

The club-record £28million spent to bring Lukaku to Everton the summer before last is already looking a shrewd piece of business, especially considering the 22-year-old's progress in 2015 and the likelihood of him only improving over the next decade.

"My hold up-play since the start of the season has been consistent and the technical staff are helping me a lot but I work very hard every day on all aspects," Lukaku said about his own game.

"All the players are doing the bits to help the team and for me it is about the base of football and it helps me a lot, I think I am very consistent in my games.

"I am getting more mature as I get older and I just try to help my team out every game."

Press Association

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