Manchester United legend Paul Ince believes in order for Romelu Lukaku to be considered “world class” then he needs to perform in the Champions League.
The 24-year-old Belgian marksman completed a reported £75m move to record 20-time English champions from Everton in the summer.
Ince, who enjoyed six illustrious seasons at Old Trafford, feels he needs to justify his price tag by proving his worth in European club football’s premier competition.
“It is highly unusual these days for a £75m striker not to have had previous experience and, if he wants to be considered world class, this is the stage where he has to prove himself,” he said in a conversation with the Mail on Sunday.
“United’s group opponents Basel, Benfica and CSKA Moscow will not be the acid test and he will not be fazed by them, but he needs to learn quickly so he is ready when the real elite stuff comes later in the season; knockout games against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.”
Lukaku: the story so far
To say Lukaku has begun life at Old Trafford well is an understatement.
Across his opening five matches for the Red Devils he’s registered five goals with four of those coming in four Premier League outings.
United’s first Champions League fixture of the season, at home to Swiss champions FC Basel, will be Lukaku’s maiden game in the group phase.
Previously he’s taken part in four qualification matches for boyhood club Anderlecht bagging three goals in the process.