'Lukaku Always Looked The Part'
Graeme Sharp recalls the first time he saw Everton's new striker.
Graeme Sharp can remember clearly his first sighting of Everton's new signing Romelu Lukaku – it was a day he realised the striker was destined to play football at the highest level.
In August 2010, Sharp travelled to watch his son, Chris, in action for The New Saints in a Champions League qualifier against Anderlecht.
The Welsh outfit had lost the first leg 3-1 but still retained faint ambitions of upsetting the Belgium champions in the return meeting in Brussels.
Their hopes were dashed further when they slipped a goal behind inside the opening 20 minutes. It was proving to be a forgettable experience for the Sharp family, even more so when a hulking figure emerged from the bench in the second half to hit a quick-fire double and consign TNS to a 3-0 thrashing.
However, the performance of the powerhouse centre-forward that evening left a lasting impressing on Sharp.
And, little did he know, that three years later the Belgian would sign for his beloved Blues.
Sharp recalled: “Anderlecht were winning 1-0 on the night and they brought on this kid with half an hour to go. The place erupted, with the fans chanting ‘Lukaku, Lukaku’. I thought to myself ‘who’s this?’.
“He scored two goals and it was only afterwards that my son said he was 17 - I couldn’t believe it.
“He was built like Didier Drogba, a man mountain. He looked the part and I knew then he was destined for good things.
“If he can be half the player Drogba was for Chelsea then he will do a sterling job for us.
“He’s been in England for a little while now and Chelsea hasn’t happened for him but he scored 17 goals at West Brom last year so everyone knows he has quality.
“I’m sure his only ambition will be to do as well as he did at West Brom. Hopefully if the rest of the Everton players can make the chances then he will put them away like his did last season.”
The recruitment of Lukaku on a season-long loan from the Europa League champions has whetted the appetite of all Evertonians.
Sharp insists the arrival of the Belgian international could help strike duo Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Kone to spark back into form.
He added: “It’s not all about Lukaku because Jelavic and Kone will surely have something to say, but it’s a great option to have three quality strikers.
“It’s a case of everyone battling for their place because there are three quality strikers. That can only benefit the team.”
Lukaku is unable to feature against parent club Chelsea - but fellow deadline day signings James McCarthy and Gareth Barry could make their Blues debut in Everton's next home fixture.
Tickets for the visit of the Jose Mourinho's men are now on general sale. Click here to secure your seat. To find out more about corporate hospitality for this fixture or to buy online, please click here.