Eric Bailly: I feel fortunate to play alongside Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United

by Harry Robinson

Eric Bailly has hailed Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku with the Belgian in a minor goalless run.

Lukaku had started his Man United career in astonishingly good form, with 11 goals in his first 11 games for the club. Yet the 24-year-old hasn’t hit the back on the net for a number of games now, though he’s contributed in other ways, including with the assist for Anthony Martial’s 81st-minute winner at the weekend.

The former Everton striker’s role in Saturday afternoon 1–0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur was questioned, with some suggesting he didn’t work hard enough or contribute enough to the team. However, Lukaku hit the post with a strong header in the second-half and his flick on from a long ball from David de Gea fed Martial for the only goal of the game.

“He is an excellent player,” Bailly told reporters ahead of Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Benfica.

“I’ve played against him and now I am fortunate to play with him. Every player knows what kind of player he is and he’s playing well and scoring goals.

“The most important thing is he carries on doing his job like a good centre-forward.”

Lukaku is certainly doing his job as a centre-forward. While his contributions are less in big games, that’s entirely expected of a genuine no. 9. United fans saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic as their talisman last year, a player who drifts back into midfield when he’s not getting service.

Lukaku doesn’t do that in the way Zlatan did, in the way that Wayne Rooney did previously. He’s a different type of striker, and needs service from his midfielders. Sometimes, he’ll have quieter games if that service is less good or less frequent, but he’s doing his job at the moment.

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