Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has made an impressive start upon his return to Stamford Bridge this season, but it has been a case of second time lucky for the Belgian in London.
Lukaku was signed by Andre Villas-Boas in the summer of 2011 but failed to make his mark on the first-team. However, impressive loan spells with West Brom and Everton accelerated his development, eventually leading to moves to Manchester United and Inter Milan.
At the San Siro, the 28-year-old impressed enough to persuade Chelsea to spend a club-record £97.5million on his services, and there is no doubting the improvement that has taken place since his last spell.
With four goals in nine games, and Thomas Tuchel’s side sat top of the Premier League table, it has been an impressive start to life back at Stamford Bridge, but Lukaku insists that the initial failure at Chelsea has only helped his development.
“It was painful and helpful, but I would say more helpful because it gave me the mentality and the mindset that I needed to become the player I am today,” he told the club’s official website.
“The team was very good but nobody saw the extra work they did after the training sessions. As an 18-year-old, I saw first-hand every day how much the players worked on their craft.
“That’s when I knew that was what you had to do to become this type of player. I told myself ‘when I’m not playing, this is what I’m going to do’ and it basically just became a lifestyle.
“I knew I would improve as a player so it was just about timing,” he says about returning to Stamford Bridge. “I had two opportunities to come back, in 2016 and 2017, but it didn’t happen for various reasons.
“In the end, it happened because now is the right time, the right age, the team is doing well and everything is there for it to be successful.”
Across spells with United and Inter, Lukaku found the net over 100 times. However, the striker’s latest comments indicate that he now realises he was far from the finished product in Manchester.
They are comments that not only show the maturity of Lukaku, but also prove his former manager, Jose Mourinho, right.
Mourinho managed him both at Chelsea and Manchester United and said during Euro 2020 just how much he has developed since his time at Old Trafford.
“I think it’s a great moment for him to say to the world: ‘I’m here and I’m one the best strikers,'” Mourinho said in an interview with The Times.
“These two years at Inter Milan have given him the stature and the self-confidence that he didn’t have before.
“At Chelsea, he was still a kid. At Manchester United, he was still developing. At Inter he became the top man. He became loved – a big love from the supporters, love from teammates, great relations with the coach.”
Source by Football London