LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea battles for the ball with Marcus Olsson of Blackburn during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge on May 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Belgian giant Romelu Lukaku has been speaking with the Daily Star about both this season and next, and it's mostly the same stuff he said in the aftermath of the Champions League final (which we won, if you hadn't heard).
"I think I deserved more chances at Chelsea. What I really need is three months to prove myself. Last year I played a game, then nothing for three weeks except games with the reserves and then I was on the bench. That is not easy for a young player. I also said that to Chelsea and they understood my concerns. I have become a better player though. I lost weight, I move a lot more on the field and I really think I have the ability to play for Chelsea."
It's pretty hard to argue with this. The best situation for Lukaku next season would almost definitely be for him to go out on loan, because considering the massive fail this season has been, he'll need all the game time in the world. Even if he is the third choice natural striker behind Torres and Sturridge, that's not going to be enough game time, and that's without even considering the raft of supposed players we're going to be intaking, such as Hulk and Demba Ba, who are all more than capable as back up centre forwards.
It's interesting to hear Lukaku talk about the small benefits he's picked up from training at Cobham every day, including becoming slimmer and improving his movement. I felt like this was certainly obvious in his time on the pitch against Blackburn - in contrast to his Carling Cup appearances, he seemed much more mobile, less sluggish to make runs and generally more aware.
England play Belgium on Friday as the Three Lions prepare for the upcoming Euros. This would have been a great game even before the Eden Hazard transfer, and it's looking like Lukaku will get some game time, as will some of his Belgian and English teammates such as Terry, Cahill, Cole, Courtois, De Bruyne and of course, Hazard. Lukaku spoke about having so many Belgians at Chelsea and pretty much said what we're thinking - it's pretty awesome having them all around.
On that point about "talking to Chelsea", I'm going to take that to mean he spoke behind Villas-Boas' back, and as he says, they 'understood' - probably more ammo for the manager already the target of so many. Deary me, Andre.