Romelu Lukaku says his ill-fated first spell at Chelsea was ‘painful’ but ultimately helped shape him into the top striker he is today.
An 18-year-old Lukaku first joined the Blues from Anderlecht back in 2011, however, he struggled to nail down a starting place in the side and was sent out on loans to West Brom and Everton.
Lukaku scored 15 goals in 31 league games for the Toffees on his season-long loan, which earned him a permanent switch to the Merseyside club.
Following his big-money move to Manchester United, the Belgian struggled to live up to expectations, but he has more than proven his mettle since then.
Lukaku thrived under Antonio Conte at Inter Milan, helping fire the Italian club to the Serie A title last season.
The 28-year-old has now returned to Stamford Bridge after his £97.5million move back to west London in the summer, and is insistent that his first spell at the club was vital for his development.
‘It was painful and helpful, but I would say more helpful because it gave me the mentality and the mindset that I needed to become the player I am today,’ Lukaku told Chelsea’s website.
‘The team was very good but nobody saw the extra work they did after the training sessions. As an 18-year-old, I saw first-hand every day how much the players worked on their craft.
‘That’s when I knew that was what you had to do to become this type of player. I told myself “when I’m not playing, this is what I’m going to do” and it basically just became a lifestyle.’
Lukaku has scored four goals in nine games for Chelsea since his return, with Thomas Tuchel’s side currently topping the Premier League table.
The striker noted how he has changed since he was last at the club and revealed his satisfaction over the manner in which the Blues have started the season.
Source : metro