Premier League

Ashley Cole hails Romelu Lukaku’s development and reveals ‘nobody respected’ Belgium striker at Chelsea

CHELSEA legend Ashley Cole has praised Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku’s development in the last decade.

The 27-year-old has gone from being a promising reserve at Stamford Bridge to one of the world’s best strikers at Inter Milan.

Romelu Lukaku failed to break into Chelsea’s first team during a three-year spell at Stamford Bridge
Ashley Cole was one of the Blues’ leaders when the Belgian striker played for the club

Speaking to ITV Sport about why Lukaku failed to succeed at Chelsea, Cole said: “He joined as a kid; he joined as a 17-year-old.

“[He was] a raw talent, his game understanding was not great.

“Didier Drogba was his kind of father figure who used to help him in terms of developing his technique and understanding of movement.

“And then I think the two loans [to West Brom and Everton] really gave him that self belief that he was good enough. Yes, he was still young but he still had a point to prove.

“I think no one kind of respected him at Chelsea, in terms of the fans.

“When he did play, was he going to be the top striker for Chelsea? He had Didier Drogba in front of him.

“For him to go on loan and prove to himself, he definitely came back with that self-belief, that courage, and now his performances have been second to none, he’s been quality.”


Cole, 40, played with Lukaku at Chelsea during the 2011-12 season, although the forward managed just eight Premier League appearances that term.

The Belgium international recently branded his spell at the Blues a ‘failure’ amid speculation of him returning to the European champions.

He then spent two years on loan at West Brom and Everton, where he scored a combined 32 Prem goals.

Chelsea allowed Lukaku to join the Toffees for a reported £28million in 2014 having paid Belgian side Anderlecht just £10m three years earlier.

It seemed like a decent bit of business at the time, yet the Blues were made to regret their decision when the striker scored 71 goals in all competitions for Everton during the next three seasons.

After a difficult two-year spell at Manchester United, he joined current side Inter in 2019 and inspired them to the Serie A title last term, scoring 24 league goals.

And Lukaku has made an excellent start to the Euros, scoring twice in Belgium’s 3-0 win against Russia in their opening game.

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