West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster today warned Stoke that Romelu Lukaku is getting better as goes to the Britannia Stadium looking to continue his red-hot form.
The Baggies No 1 returns to his former club tomorrow hoping Lukaku can extend the superb goalscoring streak that has kept Steve Clarke’s men in touch with the race for Europe.
On-loan Lukaku has hit four goals in his last three appearance to help Albion to victories against Liverpool, Sunderland and Swansea.
And Foster, who spent three years learning his trade with the Potters before a £1m move to Manchester United, said: “In the last month or six weeks Rom has been amazing for us.
“Shane Long has had a few injuries this season and we have needed someone to step in, and he’s done it brilliantly.
“It’s taken a lot of the season for him to nail down what his style of play is and what type of footballer he’s going to be but he has certainly found it now.
“He is doing it for us week in, week out now and it’s amazing to watch from somebody of 19.
“He’s got a huge future and I’m so pleased for him because he’s a great lad and a great character around the training ground.
“He’s an absolute tank but he’s so calm with it.
“A lot comes down to how you are as a person, and Romelu is a good person.
“He comes in, gets on with his job and then goes home, and that shows on the pitch.
“He is so calm and it’s nice to have those players around you.”
Foster already has his fingers crossed that the Baggies can secure Lukaku on loan for another season after the Belgium international expressed an interest in extending his stay.
But the Hawthorns shot-stopper knows there is a risk that Chelsea will want the 19-year-old back at Stamford Bridge next season after his 13 goals in as many Premier League starts in Albion colours.
“He is so driven and knows exactly what he wants to do and he works so hard at it,” said Foster.
“He is always the first in and the last out of training. He has a drive and a will to win.
“He is always asking for extra work to get better at something or to get quicker or stronger.
“That’s what Chelsea spent all that money on a couple of years ago.
“It would be such an amazing coup if we could get him back next season.
“I know he’s happy here. He’s got a good group of lads around him that he enjoys working with and he knows he will play on a Saturday.
“I would like to think we’re going to be a big draw for him but I would understand if Chelsea chose to keep him there to do a job for them because he is ready to do that now.”
The Baggies head for Stoke with 43 points on the board and their place in next season’s top flight effectively secured with more than two months of the campaign remaining.
But Foster insists boss Steve Clarke will not allow his players to ease off.
“I think everyone at the club should be proud of where we are with so many games to go,” said Foster. “It’s a huge achievement but the gaffer is not letting us rest on our laurels.
“The gaffer’s good at making sure people are on their toes and everyone knows if they’re taking their foot off the gas they won’t be in the team.”