Romelu Lukaku has come to the conclusion that his spotty form this season is directly due to the weight he was asked to gain by the Belgian national team over the summer.
Having mustered just one goal since mid-September prior, Lukaku has found himself left out of Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up on several occasions in recent weeks.
However, he did return to score in United’s routine routing of Fulham at the weekend – his first goal at Old Trafford since March.
Lukaku claims that he is now feeling lithe and battle-ready again after being told to add a bit of extra heft for Belgium’s World Cup campaign.
Speaking to the Guardian, the 25-year-old said:
In the Premier League, I cannot play with the same amount of muscle as international football.
That was something that when I came back I knew straight away: ‘Nah, I cannot play in this style like this.’ I had to lose muscle basically.
So you just stay out of the gym, drink a lot of water, and a lot of veg and fish and it helps.
Lukaku also admitted that fatigue brought on by a ceaseless summer of football has also played its part:
After the World Cup, I think I really was a bit tired. But, you know, I had the same thing in 2014 after the World Cup when I came back to Everton, I was really in a slump after the World Cup.
So now I think I am in a decent level again and ready to go again. I knew this. Me and the [United] medical staff, we did like a lot of tests to see what was the problem.
If United entertain any serious hopes of clawing their way back into the top four then they’re going to need their £75million wrecking ball to get his act together. Lukaku scored 27 goals last season but has just six to his name half-way through this one.
Quite why anybody on the Belgium staff thought Lukaku needed to add further muscle mass is a bit of a head-scratcher considering he’s already naturally built like a particularly sturdy external excrement depository of the brick variety.