Glenn Hoddle has claimed Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku proved to manager Thomas Tuchel at the weekend that he’s ready to play more.
Lukaku, who came on as a half time substitute in Sunday’s 3-1 win against Aston Villa, was hugely influential in earning his side three points.
The 28-year-old forward powered in a header, along with earning a spot-kick that was converted by Jorginho at Villa Park.
He’s available again after a period of isolation due to testing positive for Covid-19, but has now been used from the bench in his last five consecutive league games since recovering from an injury.
The Belgian striker couldn’t have done much more with his 45 minutes on the pitch on Boxing Day, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s promoted to the starting line-up on Wednesday for the home fixture against Brighton.
Hoddle was very complimentary of Lukaku after his cameo performance against Villa, explaining that he sent out a real message to Tuchel.
“He wanted the ball every single time. He was making runs when it wasn’t really realistic that the ball was going to come,” Hoddle said.
“But he looked eager, he looked like he wanted to show the manager ‘now I’m ready’. And he went and proved it.”
Lukaku must start next Chelsea game
For Chelsea, it feels like every match is a must-win scenario if they want to stay in the race as title challengers.
The Blues know there is a very small margin for error as they chase down leaders Manchester City, who are currently six points above them in the division standings.
Lukaku showed two days ago that he’s fit enough to impact league matches. Even some Aston Villa fans on Twitter praised his display against them.
There was a completely different dynamic to the Blues XI against Villa when he was on the pitch, and they’ve really struggled without him as a target man to link play together.
It makes perfect sense to start him on Wednesday against Brighton, even if he plays the opening 60 minutes. Tuchel needs to show his faith in him and reward a recent great display.
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