Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed Romelu Lukaku’s superb start to life at Manchester United, noting the the Belgian looks suited to the pressure of playing at a top club.
Jose Mourinho secured the 24-year-old’s services for £75m back in January and Zlatan magnanimously let him take the No.9 shirt.
And he wasted no time doing justice to the shirt, netting 11 goals in his first ten games.
Speaking to MUTV, Zlatan explained why it was no surprise to see the striker seamlessly adjusting to life at the top.
“He’s doing fantastically well, but it’s no surprise,” he said. “The only difference now is that he’s doing it at a big club, with all due respect for Everton and all the other clubs he played for.”
Now he’s doing it on the big scene where the pressure is totally different. I think when you’re playing for a top five club in the world, the pressure is different compared to other clubs, with all due respect to them.
“And now he’s doing it on the big scene, he’s showing what he’s good at – scoring goals.”
Any rampant goalscorer will always come with caveats – less heralded aspects that become magnified following defeats and dry patches.
Some, like Dimitar Berbatov, are not suited to games of a rapid tempo, while others, such as Jamie Vardy, require the presence of another runner alongside him to make proper inroads.
And Lukaku is no exception. There are times when he can appear on the periphery of the game and leaden in his overall demeanour, as if weighed down by something. His link up play is good but far from perfect, and you sense he lets the mood of a game dictate how he plays too often.
But we often forget that the best years are still yet to come for Lukaku, and the presence of Zlatan at Carrington on the pitch will, just like with Marcus Rashford last season, accelerate his maturing process tenfold.