Gary Neville praises unhappy Lukaku for being 'authentic and honest'

Gary Neville HAILS Romelu Lukaku for his ‘authentic and honest’ Chelsea interview, despite being happy to see an ‘unprofessional’ star who ‘wasn’t a Man United player’ leave, when he left for Inter

  • Romelu Lukaku was left out of Chelsea squad for their 2-2 draw with Liverpool 
  • It came after he admitted his unhappiness at the club in bombshell interview
  • £98m Belgian striker is set for showdown talks with manager Thomas Tuchel 
  • Gary Neville has praised Lukaku for being honest about his situation 
  • But he says an apology is needed if Lukaku is to resume his Chelsea career 

Gary Neville has praised Romelu Lukaku for being ‘authentic and honest’ in admitting his unhappiness at Chelsea – but believes the £98million striker has let the club down.

Lukaku was left out of the Chelsea squad by manager Thomas Tuchel for their 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

It came after the Belgian gave an interview in Italy in which he admitted frustrations about his role at Stamford Bridge and made no secret of his affection for former club Inter Milan.

Romelu Lukaku was left out of Chelsea’s squad for their match against Liverpool on Sunday

Lukaku is set for showdown talks with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel on Monday 

Tuchel will hold showdown talks with Lukaku on Monday with a view to healing wounds after the unauthorised bombshell interview last week, having consulted with senior players prior to dropping him.

On his Sky Sports podcast, Neville said: ‘We have to applaud Romelu Lukaku in some ways for being brave enough, or whatever you would call it, to come out and speak the truth.

‘I’ve called for players to be more authentic, to be more honest.

‘He is experienced. We have to imagine he knows those words will travel back and the impact those words would have.’

Gary Neville praised Lukaku for his honesty but insists an apology to his team-mates is needed

However, Neville believes Lukaku will now have to show contrition, especially to his team-mates, before he can resume his Chelsea career.

‘If I was a Chelsea fan today, or a Chelsea coach or owner, I’d feel really disappointed by my player saying that, particularly when you’ve invested so much in him,’ he said.

‘What I would expect of Romelu Lukaku in the next few days is a “sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

‘The best anyone can hope for now is more truth. “Look, I said the words I said, maybe I should have held them to myself but they were the truth.

“However, I will commit to my team-mates, I am sorry I caused the problems that I have caused to my team-mates in the build-up to a big game.” That’s the thing he has to apologise for.

The forward returned to Stamford Bridge in summer in a £98m transfer from Inter Milan

‘So the best he can do is ask for forgiveness in the dressing room with his team-mates.

‘Players ordinarily forgive each other, they’ve all been in situations where they’ve made mistakes and you say “right, okay coach, he can come back in.”

‘I think Romelu Lukaku will have been watching that game, suffering a little bit I think, knowing he would want to be out there with his team-mates.’

Despite this incident, Neville does feel there is a way back at Chelsea for a player signed only in the summer.

Lukaku gave an interview at home to Sky Italia which upset supporters and staff at Chelsea

He added: ‘Tuchel has established that he is the boss, the owners have established that they are willing to support the manager over the player and the team-mates have gone out on the pitch and performed absolutely brilliantly without him.

‘Lukaku will be reintegrated – I don’t believe it’s a case of he leaves the club, get him out in January – he can be reintegrated.

‘I saw it at Man United a couple of times when players made mistakes, they made their desire to leave known and the manager said ‘no, you’re not leaving.’

‘And they were integrated, they were forgiven and they did perform well for the club in the future. I think Lukaku coming back in could be a different Romelu Lukaku.’

Lukaku spent two seasons at Manchester United prior to signing for Inter Milan and Neville believes we saw similar issues with professionalism and commitment when he was at Old Trafford.

Neville also cast doubt on Lukaku’s professionalism during his two season with Man United

‘Romelu Lukaku was at my club and I didn’t shed a tear at all when he left my club,’ he said.

‘He didn’t say he wanted to leave openly all the time but you could just tell. He didn’t want to be there, he wasn’t committed. 

‘I didn’t think he was the most professional and I didn’t think he was a Manchester United player. 

‘I knew he was an outstanding player and I knew he would go and score a bagful of goals wherever he went but he wasn’t right for the club.’

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