Mourinho is impressed by his young Belgian striking prodigy…
Jose Mourinho is very impressed with his Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, and believes he will challenge for a first team spot, reports The Guardian.
“Lukaku had a fantastic manager last season but Steve [Clarke] is Steve, I am me and West Brom is not Chelsea. It’s up to the kid but he’s open and intelligent to learn the kind of movement we want,” said Mourinho in a press conference after his side’s 4-1 pre-season friendly victory against a Malaysian XI.
Lukaku put in another high-level performance yesterday, and scored a goal. However, Mourinho is discouraging comparisons between Lukaku and Didier Drogba, claiming that the former has a lot of work to do before he can be mentioned in such circles.
“People compare him to Didier Drogba but we have to respect Didier, because he is unique in Chelsea’s history, and we have to respect Lukaku. The best way to do that is not compare him to a legend in Chelsea’s history. Leave Didier where he is, at the top of Chelsea’s history, and leave Lukaku to work hard. The kid is good.”
The 20-year-old forward scored 17 Premier League goals on loan for West Brom last season, which is more than his rivals for the Chelsea striker spot, Fernando Torres (8) and Demba Ba (15).
He was tipped to spend the coming season on loan again, but it seems the Belgian has impressed Mourinho enough to put himself in contention for a starring role.
His physicality and finishing ability suits the style of football Mourinho will likely adopt with Chelsea, and it would be no surprise if Lukaku earns himself a starting spot ahead of Torres and Ba, unless of course Wayne Rooney does eventually arrive at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea paid a considerable sum for Lukaku from Anderlecht back in 2011, and it could be that he will finally be given the chance to repay some of it for the Blues.
If the powerful young striker scores anything close to the 17 league goals he did for the Baggies last season, Mourinho and Chelsea will be delighted at having a striker who finally replace Drogba, which Torres and Ba have so far failed to do.