Romelu Lukaku: Everton boss Ronald Koeman 'has taken me to the next level'
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku admits he is "not always an easy guy" and thanked manager Ronald Koeman for pushing him to become a better player.
The Belgium international won both player of the season and the players' player award at the club's annual presentations at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Lukaku is the top flight's current leading scorer with 24 and surpassed Duncan Ferguson's club record for Premier League goals this season.
But his future remains in doubt after he told officials in March he would not be signing the contract extension being offered by Everton.
To his credit he has not let that affect him with five goals in as many matches immediately following his revelation - although he has not scored in his last three - and part of that is down to Koeman's handling of the player.
"I'm very happy," Lukaku said in his speech accepting the two awards, according to the Liverpool Echo.
"I want to thank the manager for pushing me, even though sometimes I'm not always an easy guy. He's taken me to the next level.
"As a young guy I just try to learn every day and give my best. Sometimes there are ups and downs but it's always with the best intentions.
"I want to help my team-mates win and I have tried my best this season."
Koeman has always insisted he is calm about Lukaku's contract situation, despite increasing speculation about a return to Chelsea and reported interest from Manchester United, as the 23-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal.
Chairman Bill Kenwright remains hopeful of keeping the Belgian at the club for next season at least.
"I do hope we see many more goals from you, Rom," Kenwright said.
Academy graduate Tom Davies won three awards on the night: young player of the year, individual performance of the season and goal of the season.
Captain Phil Jagielka has endured a mixed season and his omission from the side around the turn of the year led to speculation he could leave, with former Everton manager David Moyes keen to take him to Sunderland.
However, injuries and form offered a way back into the team and the 34-year-old has started the last nine league matches as a result.
"Obviously, you start doubting your importance to the team but you would have to ask the manager that and see what sort of answer you get," Jagielka told the Echo.
"But that's the way football goes, when you get to my age it doesn't help when people are looking to the future. It wasn't something I particularly enjoyed but know it was something I had to deal with."