Romelu Lukaku has revealed how Duncan Ferguson has been pushing him hard to break the Club Premier League scoring record he himself set.
And, having equalled the Scot’s tally of 60 top-flight strikes on Saturday, the forward says he is now focused on becoming “the complete player”.
Lukaku has 18 goals in all competitions for Everton this season and 23 for Club and country, yet the 23-year-old is adamant he can get even better.
Asked how much he and first-team coach Ferguson discussed the record as he closed in, Lukaku said: “He’s spoken to me about it in a way to keep me sharp and to test me a bit, which is fine.
“Football is like that and you have to test yourself and put yourself through these moments if you want to improve, and it works.
“He knows it’s for a good cause, he wants me and my teammates to win and I want to win. I’m a winner, I want to win as much as I can and score as much as I can. Then, I’m happy.”
Reaching such landmarks is becoming a familiar habit for Lukaku. In 2015, he became the fourth youngest player to net 50 Premier League goals before the age of 23 and, later the same year, the first Everton player to reach 50 goals in 100 games since Joe Royle in 1969.
But, having also regularly smashed records at his first club Anderlecht, the Belgian insists he is only looking forward.
“When I get close (to a record) people will tell me but, for me, the most important thing is helping my teammates to win and playing as hard as I can," he added. "At the moment everything is going well and I want to improve and get even better for the next game.
“I’ve worked really hard and I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me throughout this journey but it’s not done yet. I’m 23-years-old, there is still a lot to learn, a lot to improve on and I’m relishing the challenge.
“You have to get better day after day because there is always somebody out there who has something you don’t have.
“That’s the beauty of football - every game there is someone out there doing stuff that you can’t do, but you want to do it as well. That’s the challenge I give myself every day. I’m confident in my abilities and I know that if I do my best I can be dangerous in any game.
“I try to get even better in the aspects that I’m good at but I don’t forget the aspects I can improve on. I want to be a complete player and to score in every type of way. That’s the most important thing and that’s when you’re dangerous in every single game.”
Lukaku’s powerful run and finish against Sunderland not only moved him level with Ferguson but also put him alongside Harry Kane and Alexis Sanchez in the race for this season’s Premier League golden boot on 17 goals.
He admits it’s a personal target to one-day top the chart - but insists moving Everton further up the table remains his number one aim.
“Of course, it’s an ambition,” he added. “As a striker you want to score as much as you can but, for me, the games are the most important thing.
“I keep saying it but if you look too far ahead or you think too much about your individual stats, that’s when things go wrong. I want to win the games and make sure my team achieves.”