EPL

Lukaku: I hate being labelled a goal poacher

By Sports Desk October 04, 2021

Romelu Lukaku hates being labelled a "goal poacher" as the Chelsea and Belgium striker believes he is an all-rounder in attack.

The 28-year-old returned to Chelsea from Inter in August and has scored four goals in nine appearances this term.

He has been one of the most prolific frontmen over the past decade, the Belgium international reaching double figures for league goals in each of the last nine seasons.

Since the start of 2019-20 when joining Inter, Lukaku's 50 goals in 78 league appearances is a tally bettered by only five others in Europe's top five divisions.

Of those half-century of goals, just two have come from outside the penalty area – against Brescia in 2019-20 and Genoa in 2020-21, both during his time with Inter.

However, Lukaku feels his reputation can sometimes precede him.

"The way I'm built – I'm quite big – everybody thinks I'm a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher," he said in an interview with UEFA. 

"But I've never played that way and I hate it. My biggest strength is that I'm dangerous when I'm facing towards the goal, because that's when I rarely make wrong choices.

"After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box. 

"I can do a bit of everything and in some games when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently. 

"The reason I'm so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything."

Lukaku marked his 100th cap for Belgium with his 67th goal in last month's 3-0 win against the Czech Republic, extending his record as his country's all-time leading scorer.

"To have reached 100 caps is something you really strive to achieve as a young player," he said. "I was lucky that I started out at an early age. 

"I'm 28 now; nearly 12 years have passed with lots of ups and downs, but as a team we have always continued to grow. 

"In the end, the ultimate goal remains to win and that's my motivation. Every time I play for the national team, I want to win. And to win a tournament."

Despite being on course to finish as the world's top-ranked nation for the fourth year running, Belgium have yet to claim any silverware with their golden generation of talent.

That could change this week, though, as Roberto Martinez's men take on France in the Nations League semi-finals on Thursday, with Spain and Italy also vying for a place in Sunday's final.

"In recent years, we have always managed to have a good start at tournaments and the expectations were always high," Lukaku said. 

"At Euro 2016 we didn't deliver. It was very hard. During the 2018 World Cup we did quite well.

"But I think now in the Nations League we must do really well, so that we can peak at the next World Cup."

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    Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said star duo Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez will extend their contracts with the Serie A champions, while he hit out at former striker Romelu Lukaku.

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    In the 2021-22 league campaign, Haaland is one of four players who has been involved on 10 open-play sequences which ended in a goal – together with Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric, Bayern veteran Thomas Muller and Wirtz.

    "It is interesting that we as German staff, we become very humble when we see the difference in performance in the Bundesliga and obviously how much harder it is to produce the same numbers in the Premier League," Tuchel added.

    "It is, by the way, the big question in every transfer you do. This player performs in Germany, Spain, Italy or the other way around in England, can he also perform in the other country, the other culture, in the other team, in the other style of football? That is for me one of the big questions because you can scout them on any physical, mental level, do tests with them and observe them, how they behave.

    "On social media, they let you observe their lives so you know pretty much everything except for the fact what does it mean if you perform in club A in country B, what does it mean for your club C in country D? This will be the question.

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