first_img Press Association The Belgium international scored his 50th goal in 100 appearances for the Toffees to earn a point at home to Crystal Palace on Monday night. In the three and a half seasons since leaving Chelsea, initially on loan to West Brom and then Everton, the 22-year-old has bagged a total of 67 in 138 matches. “I just gamble all the time and try to be on the move in the box and as soon as he puts the ball in, most of the time I am ahead of my man,” Lukaku added. “Hopefully we can keep it going – not just with him but the rest of the team. “We all do a shift to help. Everyone just does the role they are doing in the position they play. “I think Ross (Barkley) tries to look for the assists and tries to get goals, Arouna tries to score and put in a shift because he physically overpowers people and Gerry is a one-v-one player and we try to look for him because we know he has that quality. “We have loads of players like Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Steven Naismith who bring that extra something to the team. That competition for places is hard but we need to keep fighting if we want to make it.” The club-record £28million spent to bring Lukaku to Everton the summer before last is already looking a shrewd piece of business, especially considering the 22-year-old’s progress in 2015 and the likelihood of him only improving over the next decade. “My hold up-play since the start of the season has been consistent and the technical staff are helping me a lot but I work very hard every day on all aspects,” Lukaku said about his own game. “All the players are doing the bits to help the team and for me it is about the base of football and it helps me a lot, I think I am very consistent in my games. “I am getting more mature as I get older and I just try to help my team out every game.” Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is happy to be living up to the target of a goal every other game he set himself when he was 16. And while his first 100 games goalscoring record for Everton is good enough only for eighth place on the club’s all-time list – topped by Dixie Dean with an incredible 94 – it is a mark of a consistency which Lukaku is keen to maintain. “To be honest that is the standard I’ve set myself since I was 16,” he said. “I always had one out of two so you always put your standard there, but if you can do better you have to do better. “I am privileged to be in this position but I need to keep working, working, keeping my head down and staying focused on the next game. “I don’t feel the pressure now because I am in a flying high moment. “When the game is over I look at it the next day and then I focus on the next game. I don’t really look back to the past, I always try to look forward and live day by day.” Lukaku, for all his personal talent, has benefited hugely – particularly this season – from the wealth of attacking resources manager Roberto Martinez has at his disposal. A partnership with Arouna Kone blossomed at the start of the season but what has really accelerated the goalscoring in recent weeks is the form of Gerard Deulofeu. The Barcelona graduate has provided half a dozen assists for the Belgian since establishing a regular place in the side and Lukaku has seven goals in his last six matches. last_img read more

first_imgYear two of the Andy Enfield era will come to a close soon. Barring an unlikely upset of UCLA at Pauley Pavilion or an unexpected run through the Pac-12 conference tournament, the Trojans will finish the season with a 3-15 record in conference play and 11 wins overall.In terms of a win-loss record, this year marks a slight increase from last season’s 2-16 march through conference play. Unless the Trojans are able to pull off a first-round upset in the Pac-12 tournament, they will match the overall win total of last year’s squad with 11 total victories.As frustrating as the record might be, there are some subtle indications of a program on the rise. Last season, the Trojans were blown out of the majority of conference games, losing by double-digits in more than half of their matchups. This season the team kept it closer, with six conference games being decided in the final few minutes. Unfortunately, the Trojans were on the losing end of all of these games, which is why the record only reflects a marginal improvement.Ultimately, though, it’s not good enough to just be close. College basketball isn’t horseshoes, and winning matters. As the great coach Bill Parcells says, “You are what your record says you are.”For the second-straight season, that makes the Trojan basketball team a fixture as a basement dweller. It would be inane to put the team’s dismal performance the last two seasons solely on Enfield. The second-year coach entered a bleak situation, coming into a program absolutely devoid of talent.He has made a few quality moves to rectify the situation, bringing in a respectable freshman class this past season. In addition to highly touted recruit Jordan McLaughlin, Enfield was able to nab Elijah Stewart who was the 2014 LA City Section Player of the Year for Westchester. Next year, local ESPN top-100 prospects Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu will headline another solid recruiting class.Both McLaughlin and Stewart have shown flashes of their potential during the season, turning in a few excellent performances throughout the year. Additionally, freshman Malik Marquetti has turned into one of the best defenders on this year’s team. So there are certainly some positives when evaluating the team and the future of the program.It would be impetuous to call for Enfield’s job after only two seasons, as next year will be the true indicator of whether or not he is the right man to be at the helm of the Trojan program. There are many areas where the Trojans can improve in order to really field a competitive basketball team in a power conference.USC needs another point guard to complement McLaughlin. Though he had a decent showing as a freshman, McLaughlin’s nagging shoulder issues that originated in high school are cause for concern. Offseason surgery might fix that issue, but it doesn’t address the bigger problem. The bulk of McLaughlin’s game is centered on driving through the lane; there is a high probability that constantly exposing his slight frame will always put him at a risk for injury.Furthermore, a point guard should be one of the best free-throw shooters on the team. McLaughlin cost the team repeatedly with an inability to shoot a high percentage from the line. Instead of relying on a platoon of Julian Jacobs, Katin Reinhardt and company to bring up the ball when McLaughlin is out next season, the team should be looking for a point guard to add to the 2015 recruiting class.In Enfield’s up-tempo system, athleticism and outside shooting prowess are of paramount importance. The Trojans were certainly athletic this season, but they were inept from outside the arc. Arguably the best shooter on the team, Kahlil Dukes, rarely sees the floor. The only other consistent outside threat was Reinhardt, who fluctuated between outstanding performances and turning invisible on the court.What USC really needs is a few players who can knock down an open 3-point shot consistently. It doesn’t matter how athletic all five guys are if every team packs it in with a zone because they aren’t the least bit concerned about the 3-point shot.The team showed promise this season, and hopefully they can build on that moving forward. The Trojans have a few key pieces, and with the right recruits and improved player development, they can move forward in the rebuilding process. Next year will answer a lot of questions.last_img read more