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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez believes Romelu Lukaku is now ready to perform even stronger - and for longer.

The Blues boss spoke recently about cultivating the striker's fitness to allow him to last for entire games.

And he believes the player's showings in recent matches illustrate that work is coming to fruition.

The 20-year-old played the full game against Aston Villa, scoring Everton's first goal in the second half.

"I do feel he is getting stronger for longer in games and remember, Rom plays with real power and that’s the way he should be playing every time he’s on the pitch.

"It was positive for him to finish the whole game against Villa. Now he must try to carry on working hard and make sure that his strength and power can be there to help the team for the full duration of the game."

Lukaku is replaced by Arouna Kone

Martinez was also pleased to see Lukaku's strength and power being put to good use in his own penalty area.

“He had a big role on Saturday," continued the boss. "You need to be aware of the real strength of this Villa side, especially Christian Benteke and their powerful centre-halves. They can attack from dead ball situations really well.

"Rom had a very important role and he took to it with real maturity and great responsibility and was very significant in us keeping a clean sheet in the game.”
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