Scout Report: Romelu Lukaku

Posted: July 4, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Guest, Scout Report, Youth

Gary Davidson gives us an in-depth report on Anderlecht’s wonderkid, Romelu Lukaku; explaining both his strengths and weaknesses.

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Lukaku is an 18 year old striker for Belgium giants, Anderlecht. Since his debut with them, when he was just 16 years and 11 days old, he has scored 31 goals in 71 league games for Anderlecht. He made his international debut age 17 and later scored 2 goals against Russia.

Technical

Control

Lukaku has an excellent first touch when he is under pressure either whilst jostling or being closed down. This allows him to play the role that he does and hold up the play. He shields the ball well when controlling through the use of his body and manipulates his first touch when jostling to not only have it under control but keep his body between the ball and the defender. He isn’t as good at using his first touch to move into space when he is not in contact with the defender where he can take himself into trouble rather than using his first touch to put him in space. He has good control with body parts other than his feet particularly his chest. His control is consistent which allows the ball to regularly stick and for runners from deep to trust him and gamble with runs.

Shooting

Lukaku mainly finishes with a focus on accuracy rather than power, he can shoot with relative accuracy off both feet although his left is far better than his right, he only generates power shots when he is using his left foot and mainly when he is shooting on the turn. He keeps his eyes on the goalkeeper and is able to look up late in his shots allowing him to be effective in placing his shots. His long shooting however he goes for with power and is mainly unsuccessful with poor and inconsistent accuracy leading to erratic shots.

Heading

Lukaku has very good heading when uncontested, he is able to generate his own power off of floated crosses due to his strength which allows him to score off of a variety of crosses but the main factor in him scoring from headers is often his impressive accuracy, for someone his size and with the way he uses his strength in other facets of his game he struggles when headers are contested and in particular his heading accuracy drops especially when shooting, he also is able to put less power on the headers and therefore relies much more on the cross for power.

Passing

Lukaku is a good passer mainly bringing runners into play. He weights his passes really well allowing players to be receiving it as they run on which is a feature of his game. His timing of the pass is also very good choosing when to pass to pick out gaps.  Lukaku’s accuracy is inconsistent and his passing range is medium with him having the ability to play all the passes except long range passes.

Technique

Lukaku is able to use skill when in tight situations to get out of trouble as he has good close dribbling however, he is less effective when he has more space and is one on one. He has an adequate stepover but really won’t be likely to beat any players. He is able to dribble with his head up which allows him to pass early when he sees the opening, however his touch becomes inconsistent when dribbling at speed and can lead to him overrunning the ball. He is able to use his weaker right foot with power; however it is lacking in accuracy and weight of passes.

Intelligence

Creativity

Lukaku has excellent vision;  he is able to spread the play from his central position when he holds the ball up as well as seeing runners coming from deep; he keeps his head up whilst controlling the ball so that he can see the passes; he is also very good at anticipating a pass opening up where he allows players runs to take away defenders before playing a pass to a player now in space, this requires him to keep hold of the ball for longer and he chooses the right times to do this. He needs to reduce how much he telegraphs through passes though as he often allows defenders to get a step on the direction of his passes when facing the goal.

Movement

Lukaku’s movement is very good. He is a very willing runner who is happy to run the channels; he is also regularly looking to get in behind the defenders which stops them from marking as tight when he is holding the ball up. Romelu needs to be more urgent in his movement when the ball is wide; he is often very pedestrian before the cross. He is constantly looking for return passes after he has given a pass. He likes to drift off of defenders into the gap between full back and centre back and when he is looking to get in behind, it is mainly from this position.

Positioning

Lukaku is able to position himself well in both a 2 man or 3 man attack where he understands the difference in the roles, he works better with a front 3 as long as the central midfielders are also willing to support, he can however get very isolated if he doesn’t have the support from deep. One position he takes up well is where he is the other side of the defender to the ball which allows him to make runs off of him. He needs to take up better positions to allow himself to be a target for long passes when his team are being pressed.

Physical

Lukaku is 6ft3in; very strong and is well built. He has great strength which he uses very well when shielding the ball. Also, he can generate lots of power and so, is able to win in most jostling situations. Lukaku has quite good speed with a faster acceleration than you would expect from someone his size although he lacks great top end speed.

Personality

Lukaku is a hard working teammate although he doesn’t press a great deal when the centre backs are in possession; he is a willing runner down the channels and always give maximum effort;  he also seems very grounded considering the accolades and comparisons bestowed upon him at such a young age and he does not become overawed by big games,

Verdict

Lukaku is a tremendous talent, he has all the physical abilities to play at the highest level right now, but is still raw in parts in both the technical and mental parts of his game but he has a hugely high ceiling of potential.

Value

£17-20m

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You can follow Gary on Twitter @GaryD101

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