Romelu Lukaku strongly disagrees with his manager

Chelsea and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is adamant he and Christian Benteke can play together.

Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke played up front together on Friday night for Belgium, for a total of 18 second half minutes.

During that short period coach Marc Wilmots had seemingly seen enough, telling reporters afterwards, "Voila, I'm glad you have seen it. I wanted to try it, but soon saw that nothing was going to be working."

Benteke is nursing a minor ankle injury and will likely start Belgium's upcoming friendly up on the bench, with Lukaku therefore to be handed the lone striker's role.

Lukaku, on loan at Everton from Chelsea, is adamant that his boss has got it wrong - and the pair can play up front together.

He told Nieuwsblade: "That really was not long enough already to judge whether we are complementary now.

"Offensive we understand each other easily, defending it's something else. But I'm not the type of player that won't do what a coach tells him to do."

"Let it be clear that I am not a target man. I am someone who wants to feel the ball. I play football on instinct. I am especially dangerous if I can advance with the ball at my feet.

"I lose quality when I play with my back to the goalkeeper. This in turn is the great strength of Christian.

"The goal is of course to be a complete player, but for now I do not lose my speed, my greatest weapon. We'll see later when I'm older."

Lukaku is right that he is far more than a target man. Anybody who has seen his well-rounded displays for Everton this season can tell that his passing ability can cause just as much trouble for defenders, as he progresses in his aim to become an all-round centre-forward.

He may not be able to change Wilmots' mind, but he does have a huge chance to prove why he and not Benteke should be Belgium's preferred starter with the game against Japan tonight, and it's difficult to bet against him finding the net.

image: © Erik Daniel Drost

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