Belgium manager Roberto Martinez insists he will not make a decision on Romelu Lukaku’s World Cup role until September amid his poor form for Chelsea this season.
The Belgian international has been the leader of the international side’s attack for more than a decade, scoring 68 goals in 101 caps but his recent form in a blue shirt might not be overlooked according to Martinez.
The former Everton manager stated via the Mirror: “We are talking about players, like Romelu, who have got over 100 caps and are part of this group of players who know the national team inside out,” Martinez told reporters.
“I’m not going to judge or assess the condition of any player until after the summer because it is not a normal situation. It is still seven months to the World Cup and probably you will go into the details of how a player feels when it gets closer to it than now.
“But there will be a lot of players who change clubs or are going to feel in a different way in the summer. Romelu needs to be assessed on how he feels in September, the same way Eden Hazard does and some others. But he is one of the players for whom the summer could be a big moment for their careers.”
Lukaku’s form has dipped ever since admitting he wasn’t happy at Stamford Bridge in a controversial interview last Christmas. The striker has scored only five goals in the Premier League this season and has lost his starting spot to Kai Havertz.
The transfer of Lukaku from Inter Milan to Chelsea was one of the biggest this season and it lead to many people thinking that the signing could propel Chelsea into a title challenge. These predictions haven’t come to fruition, with both Lukaku and Chelsea failing to live up to expectations so far.
The World Cup is the pinnacle for every football player and if Lukaku’s starting spot is at risk for the tournament in November, this summer, as Martinez says, could be a “big” one for the Chelsea number nine.