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Clarke hails match-winner Lukaku

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke praised emerging talent Romelu Lukaku after his winning goal against Norwich City.

Lukaku, on loan at West Brom from Chelsea, netted the winner with eight minutes to go at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

The powerful Belgian striker has found himself behind Shane Long in the pecking order so far this season, but was handed a rare start by Clarke and responded by making a crucial contribution in the English Premier League clash.

“Romelu has done well, he is a big talent, he has got a big future ahead of him in the game,” Clarke said.

“The fact he couldn’t get in the team for most of the season is down to the form of Shane Long, who shouldn’t be forgotten today.

“Shane made a difference when he came onto the pitch, he tied up the other centre-back, has given a bit more space to Romelu, and maybe that’s why he has got the space for the winning goal.

“It’s a team effort and we don’t like to single out individuals.”

According to Clarke, Chelsea have the option to recall Lukaku early next year, and it remains to be seen if the former Anderlecht man will remain with West Brom for the rest of the campaign.

“He is on a season-long loan but there is an opportunity for the parent club to take him back in January,” he said.

“I can’t affect it so I don’t like to talk about it.”

Norwich manager Chris Hughton said he knew West Brom would represent a stern challenge in front of their own fans, but felt his team deserved at least a draw.

“I think we should have got a point on the balance of play,” he said.

“Albion are a good footballing team, at home, so you know they are going to have a percentage of possession.

“But I thought we had good spells in the game where we had real good possession, certainly for an away team.

“There weren’t many clear-cut chances and it was even and we deserved to come away with something.”

Sun 23 December, 2012
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