‘I’ll hold my hands up’: TalkSPORT pundit thought Chelsea player was brilliant last year, he’s changed his mind now
Charlie Austin admits his opinion on Romelu Lukaku has changed in the past few months.
Speaking on talkSPORT, the Queens Park Rangers striker detailed his indifferent feelings toward Chelsea’s club-record signing.
Austin is certainly not alone when it comes to viewing Lukaku in another light.
The 28-year-old initially had everybody applauding his decision to re-join the Champions League holders, following a decade on the road.
He scored four times in his opening four games, making fans and rivals alike believe the dream returned was becoming reality.
However, ten matches without a goal faded the fantasy.
Lukaku no longer looked like the man destined to push Thomas Tuchel to Premier League glory.
In fact, he was seemingly holding the Blues back from challenging Manchester City.
Then came along the controversial conversation with Sky Italia, leaving the Belgian’s reputation hanging by a thread.
Since that fateful interview hit our screens, he has only added another five goals to his CV, three of those arriving in the FA Cup.
A huge fall from grace that not many saw coming.
“I’ll hold my hands up, back end of last year I was saying, ‘he’s the man Chelsea need, he’s the missing piece’,” confessed Austin.
“But now I don’t know.”
“I was alongside (Darren) Benty the week after the FA Cup semi-finals. The one where he (Lukaku) hit the post,” continued Andy Goldstein.
“Benty said those are the goals as a striker if you’re lacking in confidence, those are the ones you just want to hit your foot and go in.
“You just want them to hit you and go in, because when you are on fire, you don’t think. That comes across, that’s a goal,” responded Austin.
“If he had hit 20 goals by now, that goes in. I know that probably sounds stupid to a lot of people, but that is what it is.”
Will it ever be the same for Lukaku?
Lukaku’s form was accurately summarised in the meeting with Crystal Palace at Wembley ten days ago.
Having started on the bench, the attacker came on for the final 13 minutes with the score already 2-0 in Chelsea’s favour.
As Goldstein described, he then hit the post from six yards out, stretching every inch of his 6ft2in frame to reach Timo Werner’s cross.
It’s interesting that Werner was the star of the show that afternoon.
Not long ago, he was in the exact same situation as Lukaku.
The big-money signing from abroad, expected to fire Chelsea to silverware.
Whilst the journey has certainly been a difficult one for the German, he is at least finally finding his feet in South West London.
Hopefully the same can be said for Lukaku this time next season.
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