Lukaku faces Baggies fight
West Brom boss Steve Clarke has warned Romelu Lukaku he must fight for a first-team place following his loan move from Chelsea.
Last Updated: 16/08/12 4:10pm
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke has warned Romelu Lukaku he must fight for a first-team place following his season-long loan move from Chelsea.
Belgium international Lukaku, 19, joined the Blues for a reported £18million from Anderlecht last August, but made only one Premier League start and failed to score in 12 appearances.
He labelled his debut season as a "waste of time" after joining the Baggies last week and insisted the move to the West Midlands was vital for his career development.
But Clarke says no player is guaranteed an automatic spot in his first XI.
"He's certainly hungry, I know that," said Clarke. "He wants to do well and prove himself in the Premier League.
"Whether he has grievances with Chelsea is not for me to comment on. I don't know what happened last year at Chelsea.
"It was obviously going to be difficult for him to get in the team ahead of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres and that proved to be the case.
"But he's got a clean slate this year. He's one of a number of strikers competing for a place in my team and I'm hoping that at the end of this year he's not complaining about anything."
Clarke, who doubts whether West Brom could afford the player on a permanent basis, added he was encouraged by Lukaku's goalscoring display in Belgium's 4-2 win over neighbours Netherlands on Wednesday.
"We had somebody there watching him and had good reports," said Clarke.
"He came on, did very well, scored the goal and helped to turn the game in the favour of Belgium. It's good when your players do well."