Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/22/13
José Mourinho has been impressed by Romelu Lukaku over the early weeks of his second stint in charge of Chelsea and has suggested he would be happy to start the young Belgium striker in the first team when the Premier League campaign begins next month. Lukaku, who spent last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, scoring 17 goals, followed up his match-winning penalty in last week's victory over Singha All Stars in Bangkok with another reward and assist in the 4-1 win over a Malaysian XI on Sunday. The 19-year-old had initially envisaged spending the forthcoming campaign gaining experience via regular football elsewhere in the division but Mourinho has since made it clear he wishes to retain the forward in spite of his on-going pursuit of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. The teenager has started each of the pre-season games to date – Demba Ba will begin against an Indonesian XI in Jakarta on Thursday – with Mourinho encouraged by his desire to learn. "Lukaku had a fantastic manager last season but Steve [Clarke] is Steve, I am me and West Brom is not Chelsea," said the Portuguese. "It's up to the kid but he's open and intelligent to learn the kind of movement we want. "The role he played tonight was the right movement. We don't want the striker just aiming between the central defenders but making movements, sometimes between the midfield or moving wide. People compare him to Didier Drogba but we have to respect Didier, because he is unique in Chelsea's history, and we have to respect Lukaku. The best way to do that is not compare him to a legend in Chelsea's history. Leave Didier where he is, at the top of Chelsea's history, and leave Lukaku to work hard. The kid is good." Chelsea's interest in Rooney is maintained and an improved offer is to be lodged at around £25m, though there is an acceptance they may have to be patient to secure the player, particularly with Chelsea due to play at United on 26 August. Asked if Lukaku could challenge Fernando Torres for a starting place, regardless of the Rooney situation, Mourinho merely added: "Of course."
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