Eden Hazard believes Romelu Lukaku can “be the difference” for Belgium at Euro 2016 after the striker ended his barren scoring run with two goals against the Republic of Ireland.
The Everton striker had gone 11 competitive games for club and country without scoring before finding the net twice in the second half of his country’s 3-0 triumph in Bordeaux on Saturday.
Lukaku’s place in the team had been questioned by some following the 2-0 defeat to Italy in Belgium’s tournament opener, yet Chelsea forward Hazard insists his compatriot never let any criticism affect him.
“Lukaku showed how good a player he is,” Hazard told UEFA.com.
“For a striker it’s always great for confidence to score goals. He scored goals in the friendly games we played, but he was criticised a little.
“When a striker doesn’t score, he tends to get criticism.
“But he can take it, he’s mentally strong and I am sure he will be the difference for us in each game, I hope.”
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots will hope the 23-year-old can fire them to victory again in the crucial clash with Group E rivals Sweden in Nice on Wednesday.