| 11.9°C Dublin

Lukaku is fighting fit


Everton's Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Southampton on Saturday

Everton's Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Southampton on Saturday

Everton's Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Southampton on Saturday

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku thinks there is a "good season coming" after a frustrating one for the player and his club in 2014-15.

An impressive loan spell at Goodison Park was made permanent last summer, with the Toffees stumping up a club-record £28million to bring in the Belgium international from Chelsea.

However, Lukaku failed to reach his best, returning late after the World Cup and struggling to find fitness early on.

There are no such issues this time around, though, highlighted by the 22-year-old's exceptional display at Southampton, where his brace helped secure a deserved 3-0 win.

"They have a very good team, very good players, good coaching staff so it is not going to be easy for the other teams but we did well," Lukaku said.

"We showed great quality on the ball and off the ball and we need to keep playing like we did today and improve as well.

"I feel way fitter. Of course, last year, without any pre-season, starting in the league, it took me six months before I got to my level, but now I am fit so there is no excuse for me to perform like I did last year."

Lukaku revealed how he trained up to three hours a day during the summer, working out in the United States after an introduction by Manchester United's Memphis Depay.

"I trained when I was in America with some guys there, then I trained when I was in Belgium as well," he said.

"Really, I wanted to start the season fit. When I came back in, I was not overweight, I had more muscles.

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

"I just felt fit also with the physical tests. I was very good, so I was very happy. I knew that there was a good season coming."

Things certainly look bright judging by Saturday's performance at St Mary's, after which manager Roberto Martinez called Lukaku and Ross Barkley "unplayable".

"I am very happy for Ross," Lukaku said. "I told him at the start of the season that he needs to score more and give more assists so it's going to be good for him.

"He is 21, he turns 22 this year. He needs to be up there with the other big players in the league because he has the qualities."

However, Barkley's sparkling display at Southampton was overshadowed by Lukaku - and not just because of his goals.

The striker showed his compassionate side before the match when he went into the stands to check on a Southampton fan he hit with a wayward effort during the warm-up.

"When I hit her, I saw her face," Lukaku said. "It was a bit disappointing for me and her.

"I really didn't want her to get hurt. I just gave her my shirt. I hope she enjoyed it and will keep it. She said 'thank you'."

Most Watched