Everton Defender Reveals Cause Behind Romelu Lukaku's Lack of Aerial Ability

Published on: 10 October 2016

Everton's Luke Garbutt has revealed that team-mare Romelu Lukaku's lack of aerial dominance is the result of the striker sustaining an injury during his childhood.

Garbutt recounted the tale on long time friend Alex Hearns' Football Hour podcast, and gave an explanation as to why the 23-year-old Lukaku has often struggled to assert himself as a force to be reckoned with in the air.

The forward has often been criticised over his inability to win flick-ons and headers, as well as putting his head in where it hurts, during his time with the Toffees and former Premier League clubs Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion.

And Garbutt, who is currently on loan at Wigan Athletic, said that Lukaku had told him that his apprehension over heading the ball was down to one childhood incident that has led to a mental block when challenging for the ball in the air.

Mearns asked Garbutt: "Garbs I wanted you to recall a story you told me once, about one and a half years ago, about big Romelu Lukaku.

"You'd think he wins headers all the time. But I remember you said you put a ball in during training and he didn't head it and I remember you asked him why and he said 'I had an accident when I was a kid and I don't like heading the ball'. Was that true?"

INTERVIEW:@AlexMearns7 interviews his long life friend @Luke_Garbutt.



Garbutt replied: "At the time he wasn't particularly confident and I don't know if he was ducking out of the way of headers.

"Because he's scored a header this season against Sunderland and has had a couple of good opportunities where he's stuck his head in there; I don't know whether Koeman has said to him he needs to do more in the air or whatever.

"He used to say to me that heading wasn't really his strong point. When you look at him you think he'd bully people in the air. You think if you out a good ball in he'd absolutely bury it. It's funny."

Garbutt also revealed his frustration over a lack of playing time so far this term.

The former Leeds United trainee was not given a squad number by Blues boss Ronald Koeman ahead of the start of the season, and was subsequently sent out on loan to the League One side.

However, Garbutt has featured just three times for Gary Caldwell's charges and stated that it was annoying at having to contend with a place on the substitutes' bench, when he should be playing regular first-team football.

He added: "This (loan) is only until January with a view to me playing more. If I'm not playing than obviously I'd love to move on in January.

"I've got a long term contract at Everton so I can try and play regularly at my loan club and hopefully go to Everton and play in their team.

"But if that doesn't work out and I've played well at my loan team then I can get a transfer somewhere else. You're always thinking to yourself 'I need to play football and I'll go anywhere to play."

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