Manchester United captain Michael Carrick warned star recruit Romelu Lukaku that he faces a ‘massive jump’ in pressure at Old Trafford following his arrival from Everton.
Lukaku made his debut in United’s 5-2 pre-season win over LA Galaxy on Saturday, after joining in a deal reportedly worth an initial £75-million, having spent four seasons at Everton – three of those on a permanent basis.
The Belgium international striker scored 25 Premier League goals last season, to finish second behind Golden Boot winner Harry Kane – and 53 in total following his switch from Chelsea in 2014.
However, Carrick said playing for United comes with added pressure and expectations ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Real Salt Lake.
‘[Zlatan] Ibrahimovic was terrific for us, but Rom is his own man,’ Carrick said. ‘When I came it was Roy Keane who came up, but I’m my own man. Whoever comes in, you’re always your own man. I don’t want to compare them at all because it’s not fair to do that.
‘It’s a jump anyway. I found that myself, coming from Tottenham. It’s a massive jump. You can’t really explain to people until they’ve gone through it. I’m sure he’ll find the same.
‘But having Premier League experience is a massive bonus. He’ll know how things work week to week. It’s just about dealing with the pressure.’
Carrick added: ‘It’s early days. It’s one week’s training and 45 minutes, so you can’t come to any conclusions. We know what he’s all about, there are no surprises.
‘We all know exactly what he brings, that’s why he’s here. He’s not going to change his game because he’s come here. He does what he does best and obviously, he’s been brought here to score goals. I’m pretty certain he will do that this season.
‘He’ll be judged like anyone else on what he does through the season and I’m sure he’s ready for that. The scrutiny and everything will go up a level from what he’s used to. I’m sure he’s prepared for that and I’m sure he will do well.’
United – Europa League and EFL Cup winners in 2016-17 – have already spent heavily to lure Lukaku and Victor Lindelof to Manchester, and Jose Mourinho is expected to bring in at least two more players, after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.
‘We’ve got to feel that [we can win the title]. It’s up to the manager whether more players come in or whether they don’t. That’s not for us to worry about. That’s got to be the aim,’ Carrick continued.
‘We have to challenge the best and be the best. It has to be that philosophy at this club, no matter what happens. This season is no different.
‘We finished last season with a trophy. We’ve got a good feeling going into this one. We’ve got the Super Cup coming up pretty quick, so we’ve got to be focused on that really, and then the season ahead.’
– This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za