At 22 Romelu Lukaku is a young player who has made a strong and experienced impact on the game, especially this season. A front man for both club and country, we caught up with the man whose feet are flaming goals right now to talk street football and the fast flowing game.

With a backdrop of the Nike FootballX 'Winner Stays' finale in Amsterdam, there was no better place to talk to a player who cut his teeth on the courts.

What are your memories growing up playing on the streets of Belgium?

It's competitive. All the boys I played against on the streets are now professionals so it's amazing what playing in the streets can do. You just play with your friends but at the end of the day they are competitors too and everyone wants to be the best. We as footballers are very privileged to be in such a position where we can play with our friends in the streets and then playing at the best academies because that's where you learn how you can be the best professional.

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What are the attributes you learn most on the streets? Is it strength, ball control, skill or elements of everything?

One vs one. With that I know that there is one move I will do if I'm in the last minute of the game or the early minute that always works to trick my man out, so yeah I like a bit of competition.

Can you remember where you played, the courts and who that was with?

I used to play with my neighbour in Antwerp where we first lived. Then when we moved to Brussels I played there most with my friends. Every summer I still play there before pre-season. For me that is pre-pre-season.

How is it playing with your friends again?

It's hard, it's tough. I usually don't do anything for a couple of weeks [at the end of the season] and when you start playing again, everything hurts and you don't have the same physical condition also. There was always this tournament that I played in Brussels - a six vs six - and my team is maybe the worst team in the final because physically we're not ready but we always make it to the semi-final or the final. I don't know how we do it but a bit of determination helps. We tackle through.

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Do you think creativity and improvisation are shaped in street football?

Yeah of course. I think all the stars of professional football now got a bit of their strengths from street football. Without it, there wouldn't be skills and everything like that. You still keep the basics from there right through to professional football and when you start in the professional game that's how you know how to be efficient and how to win games.

There's so many skillful Belgium players in this generation, what do you put that down to?

I don't know. Seriously. I know that when I was coming through, it was Eden Hazard who was the first of the new generation and then I was the second one and then Benteke came and then after that there was a lot all at once. So for the first two years there was like a group of us aged 16/17/18/19 so we had a really young squad but we have developed now into top players and now we have to make it true.

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Finally, how excited are you about the Euros?

I'm very excited but to be fair, I don't look forward that far ahead. For me, it's all about the build up process. I think if you have a good season, that's when you can really look forward. I think if you look forward to the Euros too soon it might be difficult. I just stay calm and focus myself on Everton and then at the end of the season I'll focus on the Euros.

The streets of tough tackling match winning mavericks, the Nike FootballX 'Winner Stays' tournament brought the very best from around Europe together throwing a royal spanner in the works for football as we know it. Inviting teams to create something out of nothing, it's an inspired tournament that didn't stop at dazzle but out phased and re-imagined how to create with ball at feet.

Photography by that man Willem De Kam.