By Alex Stevens
Danny Murphy has insisted that Romelu Lukaku’s bust-up with Ashley Williams during Everton’s draw at Manchester United “was a mountain out of a molehill”.
Lukakun has been criticised for shushing senior teammate Williams on the pitch in what appeared to be a condescending act.
But Murphy says he has no problems with the striker’s conduct and explained how it reminded him of a four-letter bust-up he had with Steven Gerrard at Leeds during their Liverpool playing days.
“As a player, I had loads of rows with my team-mates during games and you quickly forget about it,” Murphy told the BBC Sport website. “When you have calmed down you have a handshake and a hug and everything is fine.
“I remember one with Steven Gerrard when I was at Liverpool in a game against Leeds. He was my room-mate at the time and we were best buddies, but I had messed up in midfield and lost the ball after dwelling on it, and he had a right good go at me.
“It was along the lines of ‘sort yourself out and get yourself going quickly’ but not in those exact words, and I responded, very defensively, along similar lines without registering that he was actually right.
“Even though the way I acted was poor, the volley he gave me actually did get me going, and I realised that after the game.
“I apologised for coming back at him the way I did, and told him he was right but he just said, ‘don’t worry, it is done with now’ – and that was that.”
The flare-up came at a time when Lukaku’s future at Everton is in considerable doubt amid rumours he will quit at the end of the season.
The Belgium international delivered the bombshell news to club chiefs earlier last month that he would not be extending his current contract, which is due to expire in the summer of 2019.
Lukaku has been in prolific form for Everton this season, scoring 22 goals from 32 matches in all competitions, 21 of which have come in the Premier League.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are close to reaching an agreement to sign a brilliant striker.