If you were asked to list the major influences on Romelu Lukaku’s career so far, it’s unlikely you’d pick former Everton striker Arouna Kone.
Lukaku is currently one of the hottest strikers in Europe, having established himself as the star of the show since joining Inter Milan in 2019.
A tally of 19 goals and seven assists in Serie A this season has him towards the top of the goalscoring charts again and being heavily linked with a return to the Premier League as a result.
Lukaku, of course, established himself as a star in England during spells with West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Manchester United before his move to Italy in 2019.
It was at Everton where Lukaku really shined, racking up 87 goals and 29 assists in 166 games for the club before moving to Manchester United.
His time on Merseyside was key to his development, and former teammate Kone says he played his own part in that.
“He could run and dribble quickly for his posture from the start, but strangely enough, he did not master it very well to hold a ball well,” he told Voetbal International.
“I regularly showed him how to use his body properly. Lukaku was just a student and wanted to learn from experienced players.
“(In a game against Leicester) there was Wes Morgan in the back, a bear of a guy.
“I was talking to Lukaku before the game and said, ‘This is going to be a tough game for us against that, Morgan. It’s impossible to get past him.’
“Lukaku looked at me and said: ‘Pay attention.’
“He was phenomenal in that match and ended up in a sprint duel with Morgan. They both popped their bodies in and Morgan fell to the floor. Lukaku took off with the ball and scored. Then I knew for sure: this boy is going to achieve a lot.”