Clarke: Lukaku feels he wasted first year at Chelsea

The recently-appointed Baggies manager believes the Belgian striker can further his career at the Hawthorns, after a disappointing first year at Stamford Bridge
West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke believes on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku's first season in the Premier League was a wasted one.

The 19-year-old joined the Stamford Bridge club in August last year, but made just eight Premier League appearances in his debut season in the division.

However, the Belgian was loaned to the midlands club earlier this summer, and the powerful centre-forward made a superb start to life at the Hawthorns, coming off the bench to score with a close range header in a 3-0 home win over Liverpool.

Clarke, a former assistant at Chelsea, also joined the Baggies in the summer as he replaced new England manager Roy Hodgson, and the Scotsman believes Lukaku has the opportunity to enhance his career with West Brom after struggling to make an impression in his first season with the Blues.

"He moved for big money and there was a lot of expectation on him. It didn't quite work out for him at Chelsea last season for whatever reason," he told the Express & Star.

"One of the things he said is that he felt it was like a season wasted and he didn't learn and didn't get enough work in training.

"Hopefully here we can help to push him on again. He's obviously a talented player. We can help him to learn and as he's learning he'll be helping us as well.

"I know there was a number of clubs after him. I wasn't surprised he chose to come here.  I knew we could offer him something maybe other clubs couldn't."