What next for Pompey's LuaLua?
The unpredictable, yet undisputed talent that Lomana LuaLua posses has never been questioned, nor should it, but his attitude, work ethic and off the field activities all too often have - and although not always fully justified, a fair proportion of the time rightly so.
He came off the bench at half time against Bournemouth on Tuesday night to score a 19 minute hat trick, which I believe is the fist of his career, to make a point not only to the club and the fans, but I am hoping also to himself?
Yep, it is only pre season, but that makes it 4 goals for him in 5 outings, which is a couple more than he scored in the entire 2007/08 season, as disrupted as it was by injuries and lack of form.
I have to be honest, I cannot turn round now and say I have wanted him to stay all along, as there have been times when I have thought to myself, as well as openly admitted that I think it would be best for all concerned for him to go. But I have never once been one of the band, which is a genuinely small one that has been anti LuaLua no matter what he does.
My thinking has always been that if he can apply himself in the right way, with him being willing to put up a fight to stake a claim for a place in the team and then show he can play for that team then the LuaLua we all love, but seldom see these days could return.
He wants to be loved, which he is, but you have to take the rough with the smooth, you cannot expect this if the effort is not being shown in return. Some sections of the crowd will always want him to fail - for whatever reason, but the only one that can ultimately prove his worth is LuaLua himself.
Starting at the Barclays Asia Trophy, he was looking hungry again and looked as though he was willing to put up this fight. He played for the team, chased back and won tackles in both halves of the pitch. His penalty was the best of the bunch and his brilliantly taken hat trick against the Cherries should leave him brimming with confidence.
If Spain is where he wants to be, that is where he will go, but if Harry Redknapp was undecided before the Bournemouth match, he will be even more so now, but any thoughts to offload him might just have been put on the back burner for now - as seems the case with what he has said on the Pompey site - and LuaLua could quite possibly get the chance to back his claims that he has 20 goals in him if he has the chance.
At this point in time, what might have looked an unlikely pairing to start the season could quite possibly end up being Benjani and LuaLua after all?
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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