Belgium's Romelu Lukaku misses a chance to score
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has come out in defence of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, who has been criticised by sections of the media during the European Championships, according to Sky Sports quotes.
Lukaku has been the first choice target man for Wilmots this summer, but the Red Devils boss took the media to task for judging the Premier League hotshot too harshly.
"Romelu moves a lot," Sky quotes Wilmots as saying as Belgium prepare for their upcoming quarter final against Belgium. "All Thibaut Courtois' clearances come to him and against Hungary he won every ball in the air.
"He runs all the time and tires out defences, creates space for others. Believe me, defenders, when they are up against him, are not laughing.
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring Belgium's third goal against Ireland
"Against Hungary he was off the mark with one lay-off. One! He can't get away with the slightest mistake. Everything he does has to come off."
The former Chelsea and Anderlecht forward had a strong season at Goodison Park, scoring 25 goals in 45 games for the FA Cup semi-finalists - Lukaku's best ever campaign in terms of finding the net.
But in truth, it was a season of outstanding hot streaks as well as barren runs. The 23-year-old scored 10 goals in nine league games in the lead up to Christmas, seemingly announcing himself as the Premier League's outstanding goal machine. But things dried up a little moving into 2016, even though he still netted regularly in both domestic cups.
Where Lukaku would have really been disappointed though, was an inability to score in the final ten league matches of the season.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku in action with Liverpool's Dejan Lovren
It saw some, in both the England and the Belgian media, uncertain if he was definitely the man to lead the Belgium strike force at the European Championships, especially with national teammate Michy Batshuayi also in good form at Marseille, while the striker himself raised questions about whether he will still be at the Toffees next season.
Lukaku looked to banish some of those concerns with goals in all three of Belgium's pre-tournament friendlies, but even though he scored a brace in the 3-0 win over Ireland, there have only been more questions asked of him.
Wilmots' words are some show of support for a player who is still young despite his experience, but after Batshuayi scored the key second goal in the win over Hungary after replacing Lukaku, the Everton man will know scoring against Wales will be the best way to answer his critics.
Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring for Everton