Inter Milan of Italy striker, Romelu Lukaku has spoken in glowing terms over the role former Super Eagles’ defender, Michael Emenalo played in ensuring he moved to Everton at the start of his career in the English Premier League, following his failure to break into Chelsea’s main team.
Although Lukaku appeared to have fallen out with then Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho and looked to have joined Everton in anger, the Belgian attacker, who scored on his debut with Inter last weekend, recalled that Emenalo, who was The Blues’ technical director, advised him to pick The Toffees instead of his preferred choice of West Bromwich Albion.
While affirming that he enjoyed his time at Everton, Lukaku recounted that he would have opted for a return to West Brom, where he started out as a kid on his arrival in Queensland, but Emenalo advised him to take his chances at a top club instead, hence his move to Goodison Park.
Lukaku became a big hit with Everton and, during four seasons with the Merseyside club, he became a crucial member of the setup under two different managers, while also establishing himself as their top scorer in the Premier League, all of which he thanks Emenalo for igniting.
The former dreadlocks-wearing hitman declared: “Everton was good (for me). I came there and I just wanted to play! At that moment I was in a difficult situation at Chelsea, I just turned 20, at the end of the season we had the World Cup in Brazil.
“I really wanted to play in a team that plays good football and where I’d be in the starting 11. Then Everton came with Roberto Martinez. He called me two hours before the deadline. I spoke to Demba Ba and he said, ‘Rom, what are you going to do? Are you staying or leaving?’
“I said, ‘Look, my friend, I’m willing to leave’. But, I wanted to go back to West Bromwich Albion. I wanted to go back there, I already received the whole training schedule from West Brom for the whole month.
“Then Michael Emenalo called me, the old managing director of Chelsea, and said, ‘You did well at West Brom, but you need to try and play for a club who’s closer to the top.’
“I said that’s true, because if I do well there I probably would get my chance at Chelsea. I’ll go to Everton and say yes to Roberto Martinez. He called me twice and I didn’t even pick up the phone.”