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Monday 19 February 2018

Martinez hails Lukaku's power surge

West Ham utd 2 Everton 3

Ben Findon

LEIGHTON BAINES' two guided missiles provided the platform for a thrilling Everton win but their game-changer and match-clincher was debutant striker Romelu Lukaku.

In 45 minutes the Belgian 20-year-old scored as many goals as the trio of strikers he left behind at Stamford Bridge when Jose Mourinho decided to send him back out on loan after scoring 17 goals for West Brom last season. With a goal by Fernando Torres the only strike by a Chelsea forward this season, that decision looks increasingly baffling.

Not that Everton are complaining. Lukaku replaced Nikica Jelavic, who has scored once in his last 26 games, at half-time and transformed a torpid affair into a richly entertaining day that ended with Everton boasting the only unbeaten record in the league.

Lukaku's powerful and mobile presence gave West Ham's rearguard constant challenges and he crowned his afternoon by launching the move that ended with him bravely heading home Everton's winner from Kevin Mirallas' cross five minutes from the end. He required treatment after suffering a head injury in a collision as he scored but recovered to complete a bravura – and brave – performance.

"He's got that power, that mentality to get in the right positions. Even when you get there you still have to put your head in where it hurts," Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. "The young generation sometimes forget the old, strong attributes that you need to be a footballer." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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