Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is happy to put in the hard yards for manager Ronald Koeman because he believes in the Dutchman’s vision for the club.
The Belgium international scored four times in a match for the first time in his career in the frantic 6-3 win at home to Bournemouth but only rated it his third-best performance.
However, he looks like a player with a new lease of life as towards the end of Roberto Martinez’s disappointing final season Lukaku was criticised for not putting the effort in. That was despite him becoming the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1986 to score 25 goals in a season.
The big front man already has 17 this campaign - 16 of which have made him the Premier League’s top scorer - and he believes his hard work is paying off for everyone.
“I am a guy that works really hard at the training ground. I know that hard work will pay off,” he said.
“Whatever the manager told me at the start of the season I just stuck to it.
“I believed in his philosophy of football and it helped me going forward. I trust the process that he wants to do with this football club.
“For me it is not different to Roberto Martinez. They both helped me in different ways. I learn from them a lot of stuff.
“I learned from Martinez about my movements, he taught me so much about that.
“The manager now is just helping me with the extra details, with the pressing of the balls and with my running off the ball and also the mental aspect of the game.
“He wants me to be focused at any time because he knows with my finishing if I have the ball in the last minute of the game I can decide the game.
“I’m delivering in whatever situations he wants me to play in.”
Just like last season, the more goals Lukaku scores the more interest he will attract from Europe’s top clubs and the more speculation there will be about his long-term future.
Everton managed to hold onto their prize asset in the summer following a change of manager but there was certainly a distraction for Lukaku and he admits he is now concentrating on short-term goals.
“I don’t want to look ahead too far,” he added.
“That is the mistake I did last year. I was focusing already ahead and looking forward to things in front instead of the present.
“Now for me it is just game after game, day after day. I know how good I can be but you have to put the work in. I’m willing to do it.
“I’m never going to hide from any criticism I get, whether it is in the past or the future.
“We are paid to perform and I just want to perform. I want to do my best for the team and help the team win so that the club can get where it wants to be in the future.
“I believe in my abilities but I believe in my team-mates. That is the most important thing. If you don’t believe in your team-mates then they are not going to put a shift in for you.
“If I can help them by scoring goals and they help me by serving me the ball then we can go a long way.”