Martinez watched the best of Lukaku in his Belgium side’s 4-2 victory over Denmark in the Nations League on Wednesday night. The 27-year-old scored twice to cement Belgium’s place as top of group A2.
But his time in Manchester was characterised by much criticism of his ability, fitness and speed, to the point where Lukaku himself decided he had had enough.
Roberto Martinez said Romelu Lukaku (pictured) was ‘unfairly’ treated at Manchester United
Martinez said Lukaku ‘took a lot of blame’ at United but is now in a good place at Inter Milan
Martinez said he thought the criticisms were incorrect and highly disrespectful.
‘The time he had at Manchester United, he was so desperate to win trophies and he took a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and probably took a lot of blame, in my eyes, very unfairly,’ Martinez told told talkSPORT.
Lukaku arrived at Old Trafford from Everton in 2017 with a hefty £75million price tag.
Though he performed impressively by most standards, scoring 42 goals in 96 appearances for Manchester United, he never managed to win over the affections of his managers, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Belgium striker has been in imperious form for club and country since leaving Old Trafford
Lukaku eventually forced a £73m move to Inter Milan in August 2019 and Martinez said it was entirely the right move for the Belgian striker.
‘Going to Italy, he’s in the middle of a new project, he’s taken that responsibility and those difficulties he had in England in a good way.
‘The player we have now is a player in the best maturity moment of his career.’
Lukaku has been a revelation since arriving in Serie A, notching up a staggering 41 goals in just 59 appearances.
This has led to questions as to why Lukaku was deemed surplus to requirements at United, whose centre-forward problems were laid bare by the last-minute acquisition of Edinson Cavani on transfer deadline day.
Lukaku is in red-hot form for Inter Milan, scoring 41 goals in 59 games since joining in 2019
Martinez said he has known about Lukaku’s ‘outstanding quality’ for many years. ‘My relationship with Romelu was from a young player when he came to Everton on loan.
‘Then we made a massive effort to get him on a permanent basis and he was the transfer record at that time.
‘You can see the player going through phases, good moments, bad moments, but what we’ve seen with Romelu is he’s never lost his outstanding quality which is scoring goals.
‘Now we’ve seen a real maturity in his play.’
Lukaku joined Everton on loan from Chelsea in 2013 before making the move permanent a year later for a club record £28m. He scored 87 goals in 166 appearances, with 29 assists.
His international scoring record for Belgium is also highly impressive, with 59 goals in 87 games.