West Brom senior man delivers verdict on Everton 23-year-old
By Danny Wright
West Brom coach Gerry Francis has talked up Romelu Lukaku before the Everton striker plays against his former side on Saturday.
The 23-year-old spent a season on loan at West Bromwich Albion in 2012/13 and is preparing to welcome the West Midlands club to Merseyside as the two sides in seventh and eighth place go head-to-head.
Francis, who is a first-team coach at the Hawthorns, has highlighted that Lukaku will be at his most dangerous if he is allowed free movement around the Albion defence and has suggested how his side should counter him.
The Belgian striker has scored three goals against West Brom for Everton since he moved to the club in the summer of 2013.
He has scored 19 goals in all competitions for Ronald Koeman’s side this season with his latest coming in the 3-2 loss to Tottenham on Sunday.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Harry Kane currently leads the race for the Premier League golden boot but Lukaku is just behind the Tottenham striker with 18 league goals to his name.
“He’s a goal threat obviously,” said Francis to Sky Sports News on Wednesday. “They like to get him in behind you.
“He’s best when he can get in behind you so you have to work on situations and make sure there’s pressure on the ball.
“And if there’s no pressure on the ball making sure we’re not trying to play a high line because we’d be playing into his hands.”
Saturday’s clash between the two clubs could turn out to be important in deciding who qualifies for next season’s Europa League.
Everton currently have the upper hand in seventh place but Tony Pulis’ side could close the gap to one point between the clubs with a victory.
After Manchester United’s league cup win, a top six side would have to win the FA Cup in order for the seventh best Premier League team to earn continental qualification.
In other Everton news, Yannick Bolasie has posted a major injury update which will delight fans.