Belgium boss Martinez suggests Lukaku should leave Chelsea to secure World Cup spot

Romelu-Lukaku(C)Getty Images

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has suggested Romelu Lukaku may have to leave Chelsea to secure a place in the squad for the World Cup.

The striker has struggled since he returned to Stamford Bridge from Inter last summer.

Lukaku, 28, has not started any of Chelsea's last four Premier League matches, having been left on the bench for the 4-0 win at Burnley at the start of March.

What has been said?

The Belgium international has made just 20 Premier League appearances, eight of which he has started, and his national team manager believes he will need to assess his situation ahead of the tournament in November.

“We are talking about players, like Romelu, who have got over 100 caps and are part of this group of players who know the national team inside out," Martinez told The Sun.

“I’m not going to judge or assess the condition of any player until after the summer because it is not a normal situation.

“It is still seven months to the World Cup and probably you will go into the details of how a player feels when it gets closer to it than now.

“But there will be a lot of players who change clubs or are going to feel in a different way in the summer.

“Romelu needs to be assessed on how he feels in September, the same way Eden Hazard does and some others.

“But he is one of the players for whom the summer could be a big moment for their careers.”

He added: “We always speak.

“I have a very close relationship with all my players. I would never tell a player what to do but we always share thoughts.

“At the moment Romelu is in a good place. He is so committed.

"He was delighted to win the Club World Cup and the next step is to finish the season strong with Chelsea and make sure he can feel very important."

What is Lukaku's situation at Chelsea?

Lukaku has scored just five times since he made his return to the Premier League last year.

The striker found it difficult to get back into the starting XI after recovering from an injury in November and made matters worse when he gave a controversial interview in December.

Lukaku complained to Sky Sport Italia about the system that coach Thomas Tuchel has adopted at Chelsea.

“I’m not happy with the situation and that’s only natural," he said.

"The head coach has decided to play a different system and I mustn’t let up, I need to keep working hard and be professional.

Article continues below

"I’m not happy with the situation but I’m a grafter and I mustn’t let up."

The attacker then had to make a public apology to the club's fans, his team-mates and manager saying: "To the manager, I apologise and to my team-mates and the squad because I think it was not the right moment and I want to move forward from this make sure we start winning football games and that I perform for the team in the best manner."

Further reading