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Lukaku recalls how Chelsea pain made him a better player

Romelu Lukaku - Chelsea
© Chelsea Football Club

The Blues striker recalled how his ‘painful’ ill-fated first spell at Stamford Bridge helped make him the revered striker he is today.

Romelu Lukaku insists his first spell at Chelsea was vital for his development as it gave him the ‘mentality and the mindset’ to succeed.

In 2011, an 18-year-old Lukaku left boyhood club Anderlecht for the Blues in a €15 million deal. Hopes were high that the young striker would become the natural successor to Didier Drogba. Opportunities for game time, however, were limited, forcing him out on loan to West Brom and Everton.

Lukaku eventually joined Everton permanently in 2014. The Belgian has since developed into a world-class forward following further stints with Manchester United and Inter Milan. Therefore, Chelsea re-signed him for a club-record fee of €115 million in the summer.

“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 the club’s website about his first spell in west London.

“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’. It basically just became a lifestyle.”

Lukaku has scored four goals in nine matches across all competitions since his return to help Chelsea move top of the Premier League.