Romelu Lukaku insisted following his decisive performance against Chelsea that his goalscoring record at the age of just 24 deserves more respect.
The Belgian, despite having 21 goals to his name, came into the game against Chelsea with big questions surrounding his capacity to deliver against the top six.
And he produced an emphatic response, starting and finishing a beautifully crafted equaliser before setting up Jesse Lingard for the winner with an excellent piece of play on the right hand side.
Speaking in the mixed zone after the game, Lukaku noted that people often forget that he is just 24 and nowhere near the peak of his powers.
“Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I’ve proved myself.”
“You expect a bit more respect, but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”
This was Lukaku’s first goal against a side in the top eight for Man United this season and that is an area he will no doubt need to improve on at a club of such seismic magnitude.
But we also have to remember a few things before jumping on the No.9’s back: firstly, and most importantly, that he is still learning his trade at Old Trafford and as a striker, just seven months into his United career and, as many forget, younger than the likes of Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba.
If what we were seeing this season was the best Lukaku – in the context of his entire career, which will, with luck, go on for ten years or more – had to offer then frustration would be understandable. But he is still only getting started.
Even so, this is a striker who reached 100 senior goals quicker than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney. He has reached double figures for the fourth season in a row and recently became his country’s all-time top scorer. For all his faults, the man is a naturally gifted goalscorer.
And anybody who doubts whether Lukaku is good enough for this level simply needs to think again.