'Got to play': TalkSPORT pundit urges Tuchel to make shock Chelsea team selection against Real Madrid next week

Darren Bent claims Chelsea frontman Romelu Lukaku should be a shock inclusion in the starting XI next week against Real Madrid, as well as teammate Mateo Kovacic.

Chelsea travel to Spain next Tuesday for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Blues were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Madrid at Stamford Bridge a couple of days ago, so it’s a big ask to overturn the aggregate scoreline at the Bernabeu next week.

TalkSPORT pundit Bent says Lukaku should be recalled to the starting line-up for the second leg. The 28-year-old striker has started just two of his side’s last seven games across all competitions, so it would be a shock to see him in the XI. Also, the form of Kai Havertz as the centre-forward surely makes it impossible for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel to alter his role.

In addition, Bent would like to see Kovacic promoted to the XI. Cesc Fabregas voiced his frustration during the first leg that the 27-year-old didn’t start, albeit he came on as a half-time substitute.

“Kovacic has got to play from the start [against Madrid]. I would even throw in Lukaku from the start,” Bent told talkSPORT.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

Chelsea trial tomorrow

It could make sense for Tuchel to give Lukaku the chance to impress tomorrow, plus he could dangle the carrot that a top performance could get him in the XI for the Champions League showdown in Madrid.

Lukaku’s understandably not in the best side right now and his main role is as a substitute.

The Belgian striker came off the bench to miss two glorious headed chances in the first leg against Madrid, which really highlights where his confidence is at.

However, tomorrow’s league match away to Southampton could be an ideal opportunity for him to get back in the goals.

There is always the option to play a Havertz-Lukaku partnership in attack, so perhaps Bent may still get his wish.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.