Martinez: Aguero is the only striker better than Lukaku

Date published: Friday 11th December 2015 2:55

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Only Sergio Aguero can match up to Romelu Lukaku’s exploits in the Premier League, according to Everton boss Roberto Martinez.

Lukaku has scored 14 goals in 19 appearances for the Toffees this season, including seven in his last six games, and will be looking to continue the run against Norwich on Saturday.

The Belgium international initially struggled to hit the heights he had reached during a season on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea when he signed permanently for a club-record fee in the summer of 2014.

But his form picked up during the second half of last term and this campaign only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored more goals.

Martinez said: “We’ve seen a very consistent footballer for the last 12 months. Everything that he’s doing in the final third is as good as it gets in the league.

“Only maybe Sergio Aguero had a similar impact in the last three years, and his (Lukaku’s) numbers are above big names and big performers in this league.

“From our point of view, it’s been great to see that consistency. To have 27 goals in a calendar year is an impressive stat but, as he will tell you, we want him to carry on improving, carry on wanting more, and, at the tender age of 22, that should be the drive and the focus.”

Everton have only lost three matches all season, with five wins and seven draws leaving them in ninth place ahead of Saturday’s trip to Carrow Road.

It is Everton’s second match against Norwich in six weeks following the Toffees’ Capital One Cup victory on penalties at Goodison Park.

“It was a very different game,” Martinez said. “I think when you play in the cup and you know that everything is going to be decided on the night, there are different ways of approaching the game.

“What was very clear was Norwich are a very good team in possession; technically I thought they performed very well on the night. It was a very competitive game and I expect exactly the same.

“Looking at the last game they had at Carrow Road against Arsenal, it was a really good performance and we know we’re going to be facing a brave team with a lot of energy that can keep the ball really well.”

Midfielder James McCarthy was due to have a fitness test on Friday on the hip problem that has ruled him out of the last two games.

Teenage defender Brendan Galloway signed a new long-term deal on Thursday and looks set to keep his place at left-back ahead of Leighton Baines for another week at least.

Baines has made two substitute appearances after nearly seven months out following two operations on his ankle.

Martinez said: “After the Middlesbrough game he took a little bit of a knock and it took him probably 24 hours to get back to normal. After the game against Crystal Palace, he had no reaction.

“We need to be very much aware when a player’s out for such a long period, you cannot just expect to come back and be perfect for 90 minutes.

“But I was delighted with the way he reacted after the game on Monday. He’s getting very, very close to being able to challenge for a start.”

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