It is a normal thing, a youngster graces the pitch for the first time in his career and suddenly all eyes are on him. People are expectantly waiting for him to do something, show a bit of his ability so we can see what kind of player he's destined to be or whether he has the potential to set the world alight. Of course some young ones will be more hyped than others, some will deliver, some will surprise, and some will disappoint. Another common theme with new youngsters is the fans that tend to look for similarities between them and some established stars, some of these similarities may be physical, technical, or mental. Other times (most times) for me, its down to facial resemblance, clubs, nationality, race, appearance, and the most popular, the need for youtube video makers to name their work. It should be an honour though for a young player to be compared to one of the greats especially when they actually have a similar style of play. Its the comparism for non footballing reasons that I dont really care for, and I'm here to give my 2 cents on one particular case.
Romelu Lukaku being the "next Drogba". Normally I'd think that most of you have seen enough of both players to know where they are alike but where they are not. But what the hell? I have nothing else to do and have free internet access (where I live its a big deal), so I guess I might as well give my opinion on an issue that has been bothering me for a while. Lets jump right in.
Let's start with the similarities, for me, both are built like houses, apart from that, and the colour of their skin, I don't see any other similarities. Drogba to me is either stronger than Lukaku or prefers bullying defenders to otwitting them, but dont remember much of Lukaku hassling and going toe to toe with players, but I'm sure (as Andre Santos would tell you) he can more than hold his own. Somthing else worth considering is that Lukaku rarely scores headers compared to Drogba. Pace wise Drogba is not slow, but from what I have seen Lukaku is significantly faster and Lukaku's acceleration for me is a joy to behold.
Technically speaking, their styles are a bit different too. Drogba is clearly better in the air, I see Drogba as a better passer, Drogba generally has more power to his shots, Didi just does more outside the box than Lulu. Drogba's first touch and close control are all different to Lukaku's. If Drogba gets the ball on his chest backing the goal, then the ball mostly ends up in the net, so back to goal? Still the Drog. One thing that stands out about Lukaku though is that a very good portion of his shorts are on target. In my opinion Lukaku has a better accuracy with his shots even though he hardly shoots from range.
Now on to the features that to me distinguish them the most, positioning, runs, and usage of space (all intertwined can't talk about one without mentioning the others). Lukaku can mostly be found constantly on the shoulder of the last defender, trying to make runs for through passes to put himself through one on one with the keeper. Drogba mostly does this only on the counter, Drogba prefers to stand and act as a focal point and look to hold up play, knock balls on to midfield runners etc. Lukaku also strikes me as being a bit more mobile with his movement and runs even though he mostly finds space instead of going towards the ball. Lukaku's positioning looks more like a poacher type striker to me and it shows in the way his goals are scored, tap ins from crosses, one on ones, being in the right place to pounce on a goal mouth scramble. But Drogba is more of a target man, crashing headers, quick turns in tight places, unstopabble shots. Lukaku barely has defenders to beat when he scores, its ymostly him and GK but Drogba is just different. The way they use space is also vastly different. Drogba tends to get the ball in tight areas hold the ball, drag people out of position and create space for others, he mostly shoots from these tight spots and gets them on target. Even off the ball, his movement drags defenders out of position to create space for others, take for example his goal vs Barca, it was his run to the right that gave Ramires space to run in to and control Lampard's brilliant long pass. Lukaku on the other hand tends to find and exploit space created by others in dangerous position, that's how he mostly finds himself on the end of attacking moves, Lukaku cant really do much when playing against defences that shut down all the space in their final third, that being said though in terms of movement to put yourself in a position to score goals Lukaku does this better than Drog, even though he hasn't yet perfected the timing of his runs. That's why He and Benteke played well together for Belgium, Benteke created space for him and he found and used it (Benteke is more of the next Drogba).
Lukaku is young and still very raw, so I know its very possible for him to develop some of the features that I claim differentiate him from Drogba. But what I'm saying is that He at 20 has not shown that he is a target man type striker. He strikes me as more of a poacher, some of his runs and positions he takes up remind me of Chicharito, that's how i think he has the potential to play. He is more of like Gomez than Drogba, a poacher trapped in a target man's body.