Romelu Lukaku will hit 30 goals in all competitions for Manchester United this season and justify his large price tag, according to Dwight Yorke.
United paid a reported £75 million to sign the Belgium international from Everton last July and he has so far struck 17 times in his first campaign for the club.
Lukaku has hit the net in successive appearances to start 2018 in fine form and Yorke – who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League at Old Trafford – believes criticism of the 24-year-old’s performances has been unfair.
“I think he has done really well,” Yorke told Omnisport. “Sometimes people can be unfair in terms of the numbers and the consistency but that is often enough when you go for a huge price tag and play for the likes of Manchester United – you are under certain scrutiny at certain times and you have got to be consistent.
“I think that for me looking at him I always felt he was the right buy for us and he has already scored double figures – 16 or 17 goals already and we are only at the halfway mark.
“If he continues in that vein then he is going to get close to 30-plus goals and I think that is a pretty good return. At the end of the day, being a striker in that position you are always going to be judged on the number of goals and I am sure he is on course to do that, although people still point the finger at whether he is good enough or not.
“But I have no doubt, he is still a young man and is developing and will get better as the years go by and with the expectation of being at Manchester United.”
Lukaku’s 11 Premier League goals leave the striker well off the rapid pace set by Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who has hit 20 goals in 22 league games as he chases a third successive Golden Boot.
2017 has been good to me. Bring on 2018! #Hattrickballs#Goldenboot#HappyNewYearpic.twitter.com/WuKBBmP7B6
— Harry Kane (@HKane) December 31, 2017
And Yorke believes it is fair to compare Kane with some of the great strikers of the Premier League era, such as the division’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer, Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler and his forrmer United strike partner Andy Cole.
“I tried to figure him [Kane] out and work him out a couple of times and I had my doubts at the beginning,” Yorke added. “But what I see is someone who has developed into a really top marksman in that position.
“You know although I played that position often enough I never see myself as a number nine but I see a genuine number nine in Harry Kane, I see the Alan Shearer make-up, the Andy Cole, the Robbie Fowler, the proper number nine I consider.
“Harry Kane is in that mould and has a great eye for goal and has continued to be consistent which is very important and often enough you try to compare him with other players around the world. Is he really fast? What is he really good at? What is his strength?
“I can tell you what his strength is – he scores goals and that is what matters. You can try to compare him with all different things but this guy knows how to put the ball in the back of the net and that is a special art in itself and is why he has gone one to break Alan Shearer’s record [of Premier League goals in a calendar year] he held for some time and I have no doubt he probably will go on to break more records.”