Liverpool, United Kingdom: Romelu Lukaku deserves recognition as a star in his own right without prompting regular comparisons to Didier Drogba, according to Everton captain Phil Jagielka.
Jagielka understands why the Belgian continues to be seen as the likely successor to the legendary Chelsea striker, but he believes that the time will come when the on-loan Everton forward has established his own reputation.
“Drogba doesn’t mean anything to us at Everton,” Jagielka said. “We know a lot about him of course, but we don’t want to draw comparisons.
“Rom’s his own person, his own player, he’s got his own style. He plays a bit different, but I can see why people have made those comparisons — and at the end of the day it’s not a bad guy to be compared to. But for us, we just want him to keep progressing as a person and a player and if we keep him firing on all cylinders all season he will really help us out. “He’s a real presence up front. First and foremost he’s a fantastic lad, on the pitch and the training field, he’s just desperate to do well.
“Obviously he wasn’t quite getting a nod at Chelsea and that’s made him even hungrier than he was last season. He’s a fantastic acquisition for us. He’s a great player and has probably taken us up to that next level. If he can keep himself fit and keep himself confident, he could be great for us.
“He has all the attributes to be a top-class player and he’s still quite a young boy. When you look at him and he’s so physically well developed, you expect him to be in his late 20s but he’s just a young man. It makes it quite scary to think, really.
“Possibly he makes the wrong decisions from time to time, but when he gets everything right, when you look how he was against Newcastle — his assist for Ross’s goal and the fact he took his two fantastically well. He’s got everything.
“His vision is superb too, he can hold players off, and he’s someone the other midfielders and attacking players love to play with. Competition for places up there is really strong at the moment.”
Having scored three league goals — more than any of Chelsea’s strikers — questions will inevitably be asked about the logic of Jose Mourinho’s decision to let Lukaku go, but Jagielka thinks players will always look better when given senior status — something the 20-year-old did not have at Stamford Bridge.
“Chelsea just brought in Eto’o and they’ve got Torres and Ba, so it’s difficult,” Jagielka said.
“They have an amazing squad but for whatever -reason were not offering Rom as much football as he wanted. It makes a difference that he knows he’s going to play.”