How does Romelu Lukaku get back into the Manchester United mix?
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In last season's early goings, Romelu Lukaku was the talk of the town. His goals had fired Manchester United into title contention. Once he stopped scoring and United began to dry up over the hectic winter period, the Red Devils' race was run. Manchester City would go on to win the Premier League at a canter.
Jose Mourinho always stuck by Lukaku, though. Marcus Rashford continued to be stuck out on the left-wing, while Anthony Martial was glued to the substitutes bench. However, there has been a complete role-reversal with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel.
It is Rashford who's living the high life at the Theatre of Dreams, finding the back of the net at an astonishingly rapid rate. As for Lukaku, he has been used rather sparingly as a substitute; making just the one start in seven matches under the Baby Faced Assassin.
That begs the question, what next for the Belgium international who has always scored goals whatever the situation. Does he stay? Does he go? Should United cash in? Shouldn't they?
Personally, I'm overwhelmingly in favour of Lukaku staying at Old Trafford. First and foremost, he knows where the back of the net is. That's a skill that cannot be taught. Look at the quote from Solskjaer below, nobody will outscore the 25-year-old at United. That predatory instinct that the #9 has will always shine through. Simply put, you cannot keep a good forward down forever, and although he's struggling at the moment, the signs are there. He's already scored two under his new Norwegian gaffer despite limited appearances.
Football, now more than ever, is a squad game. No longer can you start the same eleven players week-in-week-out and expect success. There's just too many games, particularly in England. Rashford is in stunning form at the moment. That will change, everyone goes through purple patches and spells of struggle. Plus, these two are extremely different footballers. Lukaku is better in the air, stronger when in the box and physically more dominant. Rashford's quicker, more suited to dragging defenders out ride and running in behind. They're the perfect complement. The Ying to each other's Yang.
Lukaku's a tough cookie. There is no way he'll let a poor spell overcome him. Instead, United's £75million man will work harder, give that extra 10% and continue to give the manager something to think about. He's in a great situation in Manchester right now. United have to fight it out in three different competitions. Opportunities will come.
Plus, if he were to demand a transfer, where's he going to go? I don't see any other top Premier League side chasing hard to sign him. Chelsea maybe, but there is major talk surrounding a Gonzalo Higuain signing. Would European football's big guns make their move? FC Barcelona wouldn't, nor would Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. He's quickly running short on options.
The best thing for Lukaku now is to stay put. The best thing for United is to keep ahold of him. While it must be frustrating for him to not be playing at the moment. That will change. When the chance arrives, it's up to him to grasp it with both hands and not let go.