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Looking back at how fans and experts raved about Romelu Lukaku when he was just 16

Belgium's big man up front is poised to win the World Cup's Golden Ball award, but what did we all think of him back when he was just a teenager?

We’re all pretty wrapped up in the World Cup at the moment, aren’t we?

Gareth Southgate’s England has laughed in the face of history as they’ve reached the semi-finals, with Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford and Harry Maguire slowly becoming national heroes to the beer-drinking, ‘coming home’-singing fans back in Blighty.

Love ’em

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Love ’em

But there’s a similar feeling in Belgium, as their Golden Generation saw off the mighty Brazil in the quarter-finals to set-up a date with destiny against France.

It’s hard to really pinpoint the hero of Roberto Martinez’s side, with Premier League stalwarts such as Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne all doing their bit, with even Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli chipping in.

But we think it’s fair to say that all eyes have been on Man United forward Romelu Lukaku.

Heroic

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Heroic

The giant striker has been one of the best players in Russia, using his pace and power to spearhead Belgium’s push to glory.

The 25-year-old (yep, he’s still only 25) has netted four times so far and will have his eye firmly on the Golden Boot award, which is currently in Kane’s grasp with his six goals.

But as we wait and see if Lukaku will be voted the World Cup’s best player – he’s certainly in the running, after all – we think it’s worth taking a look back at how highly rated he was even as a 16-year-old.

Kiddo

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Kiddo

That’s right, Lukaku burst onto the scene at just 16, turning out for Belgian’s most successful club Anderlecht.

We’re pretty sure everyone who played Football Manager 2010 made sure they snapped up this wonderkid, such was his talent at the time.

In fact, at the start of Belgium’s 2009-10 Pro League season, the teenager finished up as the top goalscorer with 15 goals as Anderlecht won the title, and he even notched four goals in their Europa League run.

So for the sake of interest, let’s take a look back at what fans and experts were saying about the young Lukaku back in the day, well before he played for Chelsea, Everton and Man United.

The talk of Belgian football

As you’d expect, between 2009 and 2010 the youngster was heavily linked with a move away from the Belgian league, with a host of Premier League clubs interested.

Judging by these tweets, Liverpool and Arsenal appeared the most keen.

Most wanted

And it wasn’t just at club level he was impressing either.

Earlier this year, Lukaku became Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 31 goals – which has since risen to 40.

Having made his debut in 2010, he scored his first international goals later that year and clearly hasn’t looked back.

International star

And like we said earlier, he was someone you really wanted on Football Manager.