Romelu Lukaku has explained why he welcomes Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to Manchester United, noting that the Swede’s presence will spur him on to prove himself further under Jose Mourinho.
The 24-year-old has made a blistering start to life at Old Trafford ever since arriving for £75m back in July, netting eight goals for club and country in total. But along with his characteristic potency in front of goal has come a bolder approach going forward in general. Mourinho’s men have a renewed sense of vigour and purpose to their attacking play, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata supporting the deadly Belgian with a tantalising mixture of speed and craft that has so far churned out ten goals in three games.
And it was recently confirmed that Ibrahimovic, who suffered a serious knee injury back in April, had signed a new one year deal with United after his contract expired in June. He granted Lukaku permission to wear the No.9 shirt earlier this summer and will wear the No.10 instead. Plenty of talk has revolved around how Mourinho will use Zlatan in relation to Lukaku; the Portuguese himself noted that the 35-year-old will serve as an “extra man”, but a player of his quality will always threaten the starting XI.
But Lukaku, when asked about what Zlatan’s reintroduction may mean for his place in the United team, he was quick to note that having such an experienced, powerful forward would only serve to push him harder.
“I think it’s really good for the team. I think it’s good to have another guy who is hungry to win trophies, that’s what we want at Manchester United,” he said.
“With his personality, his character and also his attributes as a football player he can bring us a lot and we will try to help him. You relish competition, as long as it can make you better and makes you win you relish the challenge at the time.”