Mar 022014

Martinez believes Belgian will be sharper than ever after injury.

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Roberto Martinez has hailed Romelu Lukaku for his match-winning performance against West Ham.

The 20-year-old made a goalscoring return to action after more than a month out through injury, netting the only goal of an enthralling game in the 81st minute after emerging as a substitute early in the second period.

And Martinez believes the enforced spell on the sidelines can now be used to Everton’s benefit in the final weeks of the season.

He said: “Romelu is somebody we’ve missed for a long time and he pops up with a clinical touch today. It was well deserved.

“It is important to have him back now. You don’t want to lose players through injury, but I think in a strange way it is what he needed.

“This is the first season he has played 90 minutes consistently in the Premier League, leading the line and taking responsibility for the team. I felt in January that he was starting to feel tired and suffering from the demands of this league.

“But now he is refreshed and desperate to help the team. He has accumulated the experience of being so effective with us already this season and now he is fully refreshed for the last 10 weeks of the season.”

Lukaku has now netted 11 goals in 21 league appearances since arriving at Goodison on a season-long loan from Chelsea on transfer deadline day in September.

Despite his tender years, Martinez believes he has the world at his feet and is going from strength to strength thanks to the experience his time with Everton has provided.

He added: “You are not going to find a better striker around the world with that power and strength with his back to play. He is showing how well he can finish, he is a No.9 who can bring instructions into play – he has got everything. I respect him a lot – he could be as good as he wants to be.

“Some players at 20 have few experiences but he has already been an important player in Belgium, he has had a massive move to a Champions League side and has then had to find a way to be effective in the Premier League.

“He has come to Everton and has learned how to be effective for 90 minutes as a lead striker in this league. I’m very impressed with the way he has developed this season and I would say he has the experience of a 24 or 25-year-old.”

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