Paul Ince insists Romelu Lukaku needs to prove himself in the Champions League

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has called on Romelu Lukaku to replicate his Premier League form in the Champions League.

The Belgian has been an effervescent force up front ever since arriving for £75m back in July, netting a total of nine goals for club and country.

But despite claiming his 150th club goal against Stoke City on Saturday, Lukaku still hasn’t played a single game in the Champions League.

And Ince, speaking to the Mail Online, believes that the striker needs to be judged by how well he fares on the continental stage – starting with Man United’s clash with FC Basel on Tuesday.

“It is highly unusual these days for a £75m striker not to have had previous experience and, if he wants to be considered world class, this is the stage where he has to prove himself,” he said.

“United’s group opponents Basel, Benfica and CSKA Moscow will not be the acid test and he will not be fazed by them, but he needs to learn quickly so he is ready when the real elite stuff comes later in the season; knockout games against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.”

Lukaku has so far demonstrated as a United player that, regardless of the opponent, he snuffs out chances. Even against Real Madrid, the European champions, he was presented with two glorious opportunities but only managed to take on the latter.

The European platform has evolved since that night in Wolfsburg, with English teams slipping even further down the footballing ladder, and Lukaku will be expected to bring the same direct, powerful influence in Europe that has so far served him well domestically.

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