A call for Lukaku to be able to prove himself during the African Cup of Nations is a sentiment that is quietly echoing around some sections of the fan base and a similar emotion is being transpired for Chamberlain to get the same opportunity when Gervinho goes on international duty with the Ivory Coast: however, who will make an established breakthrough first?
Arsenal fans have been spoilt when it comes to seeing the youth get a chance in years gone by, however the arrival of Thierry Henry on loan to help Arsenal through a difficult January in the Ivorian’s absence, may well obstruct Chamberlain’s progression into the starting line-up. Similarly at Chelsea, new arrivals may well block Lukaku’s chance to get a decent run of games under his belt, but at current, with no signings confirmed, Lukaku has a chance to get his foot in the door first, when Ivorian pair Kalou and Drogba depart for Gabon
and Equatorial Guinea.
Both have the ability and both are unquestionably ready for the step up: Chamberlain is two years older than Theo Walcott was when he made his Premier League debut and furthermore, he has more first team experience from his Southampton days, is better built for the physicality of the Premier League and, from first hand experience, he is, as Robson states, “more intelligent.,” with the ability to find the back of the net with ease, take on his man and hold his own. As for Lukaku, he was the top scorer of the Belgian top-flight at 16, finished 4th at 17 and won the Belgian Ebony Shoe at 18, an annual award for the Best African Player of the Belgian Pro-League.
For any doubters that may well question the quality of the Belgian top-flight as a measure of Lukaku’s readiness for the Premier League, 8 of the past 16 Ebony Shoe winners have gone on to play in the Premier League, including: Babayaro, Mido, Dindane and Vincent Kompany.
One may suffer from the manager’s pressure to succeed this season and one may suffer from the manager’s pressure to hang on to his job: patience is a virtue, but who will use their expensive teenage investment first – Chelsea or Arsenal?
*According to Wikipedia
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