Romelu Lukaku was guilty of showing a 'lack of respect' towards teammate Ashley Williams during Everton's 1-1 draw with Manchester United, according to Martin Keown. The pair got into a heated war of words during the second half of their side's clash with the Red Devils at Old Trafford on Tuesday (4 April) after the Wales captain demanded the Belgium international work harder for his team.
Lukaku then put his finger to his mouth beckoning Williams to stop shouting at him, but his gesture only further incensed the experienced central defender, who was shown in a red card in stoppage time for deliberately handling Luke Shaw's goal-bound effort in the penalty area.
Keown, who plied his trade at Goodison Park between 1989 and 1993, expressed concerns about the state of the Everton dressing room after witnessing the spat and called on Lukaku to show Williams more respect. The former Arsenal stalwart was not a fan of what he saw from the two Everton stars and believes there may be a deep-lying issue between the pair.
"It's a lack of respect and without that in the dressing room we have nothing,"Keown told BT Sport, relayed by The Daily Mail. "He is the most experienced player, Ashley Williams, in terms of how long he's played and he should be listening to him. I wonder what was going on in that dressing room because I think there is bit of an undercurrent with Lukaku and Ashley Williams.
"And I saw moments on the pitch when Lukaku is saying (holds his finger to his mouth) "keep your mouth shut. When he (Williams) gets sent off I would love to be in that dressing room to find out what's happening. Ashley Williams played very well tonight and Lukaku, you have to understand, that brotherly love of 'I'm doing my best for you'.
"But you wonder if there is the makings of a bit of anger going because Lukaku is not holding on to that ball well enough, his decision making isn't quite good enough but he wants to point the fingers at the defenders when they don't do their job properly. It's quite healthy, let's be fair."
Lukaku's performance at Old Trafford was much improved on the one he served up against Liverpool on Saturday. The Everton forward had the beating of Marcos Rojo from the first whistle and stretched Manchester United's backline on a couple of occasions, but he did make a couple of poor decisions when bearing down on goal and had trouble bringing others into play.
The former Chelsea hitman was later seen moaning to Manchester United midfielder and close friend Paul Pogba after the final whistle. Rio Ferdinand, who says he likes seeing teammates remonstrating with each other, says Lukaku needs to learn how to take criticism from others.
"I like to see the passion and arguing between team-mates, there probably weren't many games in our careers when we didn't have an argument with a team-mate over holding the ball up or getting the defensive line up," the Manchester United legend said.
"That's not the camaraderie you need in a team to be successful. You need to be able to take criticism. If you're giving it out take it as well. I think men can do that and you've got to be a man in those situations."