Everton manager Roberto Martinez has publicly stated that young striker Romelu Lukaku showed his love for the club with his brilliant Europa League display against Swiss side Young Boys. The 21-year-old became only the fourth ever Everton player to score a European hat-trick; after Alan Ball, Andy Gray and Yakubu.
Lukaku was heavily criticised for his comments following Everton's 1-0 defeat against former employers Chelsea, where he said he'd like to "eventually arrive at a top club again" - but Martinez has maintained the fact that Lukaku has stayed loyal to the club and is happy playing for The Toffees.
Martinez had this to say, when asked: "It's never an issue. Rom was delighted to commit himself to Everton, he loves playing for Everton and I think he showed that today. A footballer needs to be measured by the way he talks on the pitch. Sometimes a microphone can be put in-front of you and people then dissect everything you say and highlight a word or line which is not appropriate. There has been a lot written about that - there was a conversation taken a little bit out of context after the Chelsea game; it was clearly someone looking fo a headline about if Rom wanted to perform in order to come back to Chelsea, and his answer probably didn' reflect what he meant."
Lukaku's clinical display in Bern has put the Merseyside club in pole position for a place in the Last 16, with a return leg still to play at Goodison Park (aggregate score currently 4-1). Martinez praised the Belgian, also stating: "He's a special footballer who we love seeing developing, and he's just enjoying being an important player for Everton. He's the complete striker, but he's only 21 and people forget about that. Our desire and work we put in over the summer was to show we are the perfect place for him to develop.
We saw today he really makes a difference in-front of goal and he's someone who is going to have a really strong ending to the season."