Romelu Lukaku admits it is ‘one less headache’ for Belgium if former strike partner Marcus Rashford is absent for England clash… as Inter star admits Manchester United forward ‘can give any side in the world’ a problem
- England travel to Belgium on Sunday for a crunch Nations League clash
- Striker Marcus Rashford is set to miss the clash after injuring his shoulder
- Romelu Lukaku admits his old Man United team-mate’s absence makes it easier
- The Inter striker has been wondering what their partnership would have become
Romelu Lukaku faces England on Sunday admitting he is relieved that he won’t be facing former Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford, but still wondering how their partnership could have developed if he’d stayed at Old Trafford.
Belgium striker Lukaku has recently insisted he has no regrets at leaving United, not surprising when you consider how his game has developed since moving to Inter Milan where he has already scored 41 goals since August 2019.
But watching his former teammate Rashford develop since then has been a bitter-sweet experience.
Romelu Lukaku will be one of Belgium’s biggest threats on Sunday when England visit
Lukaku’s former strike-partner at Manchester United, Marcus Rashford, is out injured
Rashford has developed rapidly since Lukaku departed, getting more starts as the main striker
The pair, who both scored penalties at Wembley when England won 2-1 against the Belgians last time out, will not come face to face again on Sunday because Rashford has an injured shoulder.
But Lukaku has taken a sense of pride in watching Rashford develop since he said goodbye to the youngster at the end of a season in which they scored 28 goals between them.
‘If Marcus doesn’t play because of injury then England will definitely notice it – and our defence will have one less headache that’s for sure,’ he said.
‘I know from personal experience that Rashford is a great player. Young but good enough to give problems to any rival and any team in the world.
Rashford’s also gained respect across football and beyond with his work on school meals
‘He’s fast, he dribbles directly into the area with no fear and he connects well with his teammates. Ever since I first saw him at United, I noticed there was something special about him and I knew he would go a long way in football.
‘I have also followed all the stories about his social work in the press this year and that gives me pride, too. It shows that a footballer cares and does not forget the issues that affect society
‘People ask me what we could have done together if we had gone on to play for a long time on the same team at United. That’s theoretical and we’ll never know the answer. But maybe we would have scored a lot of goals!’
Lukaku has been following his old team-mate’s progress and rates the striker ability highly
Even without Rashford in the ranks, Lukaku doesn’t expect it to be a cakewalk today against an England side which is progressing well under Gareth Southgate and has strength in depth.
He added: ‘England have a great squad. Even if players are missing or injured, any of the players who come in can be dangerous. It won’t be easy to beat them but the key for us is to play with our style of play and press hard.
‘Our challenge is to play the final phase of the Nations League and so we want to beat England and not leave it until the final game.’
Lukaku also admits that revenge is not far from Belgium’s minds after a defeat at Wembley which dented their pride if not their confidence.
He said: ‘The game in London was strange and I think we didn’t deserve to lose there. It left a bad taste in our mouths and that can only be put right by beating England this time.’