'Ibrahimovic will bring the best out of Lukaku' - Cole sees positive competition at Man Utd

The former Red Devils striker believes greater squad depth at Old Trafford will prove to be a help rather than a hindrance for Jose Mourinho

The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United will “bring the best out of Romelu Lukaku”, according to Andy Cole.

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The Red Devils have seen their striking ranks bolstered to leave them in the enviable position of having two proven performers from which to select.

Jose Mourinho has operated with a lone frontman throughout his time at Old Trafford, with Ibrahimovic having handed the No. 9 shirt to £75 million signing Lukaku over the summer.

The enigmatic Swede has, however, been brought back into the fold after recovering from a serious knee injury and 1999 treble winner Cole – who operated alongside the likes of Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his time with United – believes added competition will prove to be a help rather than a hindrance.

“I’m excited," the former England international told the Red Devils’ official website.

“I was fortunate to be in that position at United, having other players after your place and that competition brings the best out of you. 

“I have no doubts it will bring the best out of Lukaku. He expected Zlatan to get fit at some stage.

“He started the season very well. He has found it difficult in a few games because the team didn’t create a lot of chances, and the team didn’t play as well as it could have, but I think he will be okay. I definitely think Zlatan will bring the best out of him.”

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Lukaku opened his United career with a flurry of goals, only to then endure a seven-game drought.

He was back on target in his latest outing against Newcastle, as part of a 4-1 win, with a timely return to form coinciding with the return of Ibrahimovic off the bench.

That outing was the 36-year-old’s first since April, with an unfortunate injury having brought a 28-goal 2016-17 campaign to a premature conclusion.