Romelu Lukaku is heeding the advice of Chelsea great Didier Drogba after sealing his dream return to Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku re-signed for Chelsea last week, joining the European Champions from Inter in a reported £97.5million (€115m) deal.
He initially joined Chelsea in 2011, but left for Everton in 2014 after having successive loan spells away from west London. Lukaku went on to play for Manchester United before spending two years in Italy with Inter, helped them clinch the Serie A title last season.
The Belgium star has made no secret of his admiration for Drogba, putting the former Ivory Coast forward down as one of his footballing heroes.
Lukaku, who confirmed he will be wearing the number nine shirt this season, enjoys a strong bond with his one-time team-mate, and revealed he has spoken to Drogba since his move back to Chelsea went through.
“He kept it really simple,” Lukaku said hen asked what advice Drogba had given him.
“He’s really happy with the improvements I’ve made in the last couple of seasons but he’s always saying there’s more work to be done.
“I think that’s the right mindset, if you want to achieve the maximum as a player it’s about improving week in, week out.
“The last two years has been really good for myself at club level, international level. Now I get the chance to join a team that’s very hungry, very ambitious and I can’t wait to help them and add something new to the playing style.
“It’s a good feeling, the guys are very hungry, they want to keep winning. There is a good intensity, the coach is very clear with his ideas, everybody wants to work hard and keep improving and most importantly win.
“Those things really meet my ambitions. We have to improve ourselves on the pitch and this is what I like about this team.”
Lukaku has been training with his team-mates this week, and confirmed he is available for Sunday’s London derby against Arsenal, should Thomas Tuchel wish to use him.
“Yes, I’ve been training, I’ve done a whole pre-season. I’ll try to get to know my team-mates better and I’m ready if the manager wants to use me,” he added.
“The next couple of weeks is very important to communicate with all the players. We have a certain playing style here but for me it’s not too difficult to adapt because with the Belgium national team we have the same system, so that’s already a good thing.”
The 28-year-old had already outlined how he believes he can help form part of a leadership group in Chelsea’s squad, and explained how he has matured as a player during his stint in Milan.
“Maturity, maturity has been important. I’ve learned much more about myself, setting higher standards of myself,” Lukaku said.
“As a player, it’s becoming more complete because the game in Italy is much different, it’s much tighter, the spaces, more clinical and tactical which has helped me a lot. The English game is different but for me it’s nothing new. So I come back here, adapt to my team-mates and whatever game plan that the coach has, I can adapt myself and help the team.”
Lukaku returns to England at a time when, for the first time since March 2020, capacity crowds are allowed back into stadiums.
However, with coronavirus restrictions eased, there is also a push for players to ensure they are fully vaccinated. While the Premier League have not made vaccinations mandatory, there is concern over players refusing to take up the offer.
Asked if he had received the vaccinations, Lukaku said: “I’m double vaccinated. For me it’s different because I have a few family members that are high risk.
“As a player it is up to yourself. The only thing we can say is be careful when you are around the general population, because you have a lot of responsibilities. For me I did it because my family has high-risk members, that’s why I did it.”
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