Despite rejoining Chelsea last summer from Inter Milan in a deal worth £101m, there are no guarantees that striker Romelu Lukaku will start for the Blues against Liverpool in this weekend’s EFL Cup final.
That’s according to a recent report from the Daily Mirror, who claims the commanding Belgium forward is determined to win back his place in time for Sunday’s first cup final of the season.
The end of last year saw Lukaku give a controversial interview appearing to suggest he has ambitions to one day return back to the San Siro.
“Physically I’m fine, even better than before,” the Belgium international told Sky Sports Italy (as quoted by Evening Standard).“After two years in Italy, in which I worked a lot at Inter with trainers and nutritionists, I am physically fine.
“But I’m not happy with the situation, this is normal. I think the coach has chosen to play with another system, I just have to not give up and continue to work and be a professional.
“I am not happy with the situation, but I am a worker and I must not give up.”
However, after feeling the intense backlash from the club’s fans – on both sides, as well as enduring a prolonged period of underwhelming form, Lukaku has since been forced to fight for his place in Thomas Tuchel’s first-team.
Last seen on the Blues’ bench for their recent Champions League knockout tie against Lille on Tuesday night, the 28-year-old was left to watch on as Kai Havertz fired the side to a 2-0 first-leg victory.
Discussing Havertz’s ability to lead the Blues’ line, Tuchel, as quoted by Absolute Chelsea, said: “I’m very pleased. Kai is very strong for weeks now, really steps up. His effort is immense, the work rate is immense, the areas of the pitch he covers for us is very, very good. He was decisive, created chances, was involved, and was never shy of defending.
“We had a very aggressive high line today on the pitch with the offensive three players together.
“The formation was to have intensity, a high work-rate consistently throughout the whole match and they did all very good.”
Now with a cup tie against favourites Liverpool on the horizon, Lukaku must find a way to convince his manager that he is the right man for the job and according to these latest reports, the striker remains committed to the Londoners and will do all he can to win back trust previously lost in him.