Well, at least until 2014.
Croatian striker Nikica Jelavić was benched Monday night for 20 year-old Chelsea loaner Romelu Lukaku. After only one assist and zero goals in the first five games of the season, Jelavić rode the pine Monday night as Everton defeated Newcastle United 3-2. But what’s more important is what his replacement, Lukaku, did.
The future Belgian star did more for Everton in one half than Jelavić has been able to do the entire 2013 for the Toffees. Lukaku scored twice in the first half and assisted on Ross Barkley’s 25th minute goal using a crisp through-ball to split the defense. Lukaku is on a 1-year loan from Chelsea for the 2013-14 season, and with Everton currently utilizing only one striker in their formation, looks to have knocked Jelavić out of the starting XI.
Jelavić will surely be used late in games for his fresh legs in goal scoring scenarios, but his confidence has to be shot after his performance the past 12 months. Even with the Croatian national side, Jelavić is behind Mandžukić, Olić and Eduardo on the striker depth chart. At 28 years old, have we already seen the best Jela has to offer?
Lukaku highlights Monday night