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Romelu Lukaku was "unfairly blamed" during his time at Manchester United, claims Roberto Martinez.
The Belgian spent just two years at Old Trafford before being moved on by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He has since rediscovered his best form at Inter Milan and scored 34 times last term.
But he arrived in Manchester with huge expectation after Jose Mourinho spent £75m to sign him.
Lukaku regularly had his manager's backing, but faced criticism from outside and didn't fit the club's philosophy once Solskjaer came in.
Martinez has underlined the striker's commitment to winning silverware in Manchester and feels as if he was made a scapegoat for their failure to do so.
Romelu Lukaku spent just two years in Manchester
(Image: Getty Images)
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"My relationship with Romelu was from a young player when he came to Everton on loan," he told TalkSport.
“Then we made a massive effort to get him on a permanent basis and he was the transfer record at that time.
“You can see the player going through phases, good moments, bad moments, but what we’ve seen with Romelu is he’s never lost his outstanding quality which is scoring goals.
“Now we’ve seen a real maturity in his play.
“The time he had at Manchester United, he was so desperate to win trophies and he took a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and probably took a lot of blame, in my eyes, very unfairly.
The Belgian was not part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans
“But going to Italy, he’s in the middle of a new project, he’s taken that responsibility and those difficulties he had in England in a good way.
“The player we have now is a player in the best maturity moment of his career.”
Lukaku's strong club form has translated onto the international stage and he scored twice as Belgium beat Denmark on Wednesday.
They will now advance to the Nations League Finals where they will be up against France, Spain and Italy.
Were Man Utd right to sell Romelu Lukaku? Have your say here.
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