'I spoke to him': Tim Howard now shares what Romelu Lukaku told him in a private conversation recently

Tim Howard has revealed that he and Romelu Lukaku conversed at around the time of his bombshell chat with Sky Italia.

Speaking on NBC Sports, Howard hinted that his former Everton teammate was actually disgruntled by his status at Stamford Bridge, as suggested in the seismic one-to-one with the Italian news outlet.

Lukaku in hot water

Lukaku become public enemy number one with many Chelsea fans yesterday after the illuminating interview with Sky Italia was brought to light.

Although the conversation was recorded well over a fortnight ago, the words were only released on Thursday.

Some of the striker’s statements left a sour taste in the mouth of Blues supporters.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He said he was ‘not happy with the situation’ under Thomas Tuchel and also openly admitted that a return to Inter Milan was high on his agenda.

“I really hope in the depths of my heart to return to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully win more,” confessed the centre-forward.

At the time of recording, Lukaku was just recovering from injury and rarely getting a run in the side.

The 28-year-old now has two Premier League goals in as many games, yet this does not deter from the potentially damming choice of words.

Friend of Lukaku

Many pundits and former players have had their say on the matter, including Howard, who knows the Belgian well from their days at Goodison Park.  

“Well, I’m surprised because he’s not a venomous type of character. He’s a good guy,” said the ex-goalkeeper.

“Good teammate and when I look at him talk about Tuchel and name Tuchel, that’s a big thing for a player to do, to come out to the press to say the manager doesn’t play a certain way.

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“I think he’s frustrated, absolutely. The things happened at Inter, the way he left, the way he had to be sold for them to recoup some money for the club.

“He didn’t get an opportunity to speak to the and the way he wanted to and leave on his own terms.

“Even though when I spoke to him a few weeks ago, he spoke about unfinished business at Chelsea, I think that was also real, but I think it was a brave face to say ‘I’m here now, I have to come back and hopefully win some trophies.’

“But this does seem out of character for him to speak in this way.”

Which way will Tuchel turn?

It will be extremely interesting to see how Tuchel deals with this scenario.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Does he send a message to Lukaku by dropping him and possibly dent Chelsea’s title charge?

Or take the old declarations on the chin and move on?

Sunday’s massive matchup with Liverpool should reveal all.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.