Romelu Lukaku has been billed as a “pure No.9” by a man who knows a thing or two about filling that role at Manchester United, Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The Red Devils spent big over the summer in pursuit of a proven goal-getter, with £75 million paid to Premier League rivals Everton for a man considered to be one of the best in the business.
At 24 years of age, Lukaku has already achieved plenty and is yet to reach his prime.
He is a player that excites United legend Van Nistelrooy – a man who netted 150 times for the club in his heyday – with the iconic Dutchman seeing similarities between Lukaku’s game and his own.
“Lukaku has made a good start at dealing with the pressure as a striker at United,” said Van Nistelrooy.
“There is always a price ticket around your neck, especially in the early matches. If you don’t score, people say, ‘Hey, he’s not scoring’. But Romelu is scoring goals and I’m certain that will continue
“Like me, I think he is a pure No.9, playing through the middle. You wouldn’t put me on the wing. The same with him. I was the same type of player, making runs behind, dangerous in the box and holding the ball up.
“He has made a real difference to United. He has scored goals from the off and has the right boss, in Jose Mourinho, to guide him.
“There will be difficult phases to come. But Mourinho has been there and done it and will know how to guide him through any rough patches.”
If Lukaku continues to deliver for United, having netted six times in as many games so far, then Jose Mourinho’s side should be there or thereabouts when the biggest prizes are handed out.
Van Nistelrooy sees them contending for top honours, with solid foundations having been laid last season as the Red Devils secured Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League triumphs.
He added: “It was great to see United win trophies last season.
“This time around, with the squad they have, I think they are capable of competing in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
“They definitely have the squad. It’s also important that they have width and quality in the side.
“They look rock-solid, have creativity and goals up front. And soon they will also have Zlatan Ibrahimovic back. It will be great to have his quality and experience.”
United and Lukaku will be back in action on Sunday when they are reunited with the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, and his current employers at Everton.