After a hugely successful loan spell at West Brom, the burly Belgian striker must fight for his place at Chelsea all over again.INDIANAPOLIS – It seems almost silly that Romelu Lukaku is even faced with the prospect of fighting for playing time.
After all, when a player scores 17 goals in the Premier League as a 19-year-old, the questions that follow have less to do with how much he'll see the field in the next season, and more to do with just how great he can become.
But though the second question is certainly apt in Lukaku's case, the first is also appropriate after the Belgian striker returned to Chelsea after a hugely successful season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.
Lukaku has to fight for minutes with incumbents Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, both formidable and experienced competition in their own right. And that's to say nothing of Chelsea's interest in signing wantaway Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
For Lukaku though, the competition simply comes with the territory of playing for a team like Chelsea.
“When you play for a big team, you need those different striking options,” Lukaku told reporters after his team defeated Inter 2-0 in a Guinness International Championns Cup match. “It's up to us to perform well and do our best for the club.”
After being signed for 20 million euros from Anderlecht as an 18-year-old, Lukaku failed to make an impression in his first season at Chelsea, making just eight league appearances and failing to score.
His second EPL season was far more productive after his loan to West Brom, and the Belgian is now focused on working hard to make an impression with the Blues.
“I'm just working hard and I don't want to talk too much about the future,” Lukaku said. “I''m just living day by day, just working for the next game.”
The 6-foot-3 striker is certainly an imposing figure on the pitch, and his size and strength combination will give new manager Jose Mourinho plenty to think about when putting together his team sheet. Lukaku was tight lipped though, when asked about where he stands with his new boss.
“That's confidential,” Lukaku said when asked about his place in the striker rotation. “[I want to] play as much as I can and score as many goals as I can. That's it.”
If the young striker fulfills his potential, he won't face any questions about his playing time next season, regardless of which team he plays for.