Football

Romelu Lukaku hints at Manchester United exit

Striker expecting a 'busy summer', calls new Inter boss Conte the world's best manager

Amid speculation surrounding his future, Romelu Lukaku offered a reminder of his quality, scoring twice in Belgium's 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Scotland yesterday morning (Singapore time).

After the match at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Lukaku dropped hints that he could be leaving Old Trafford, saying he is expecting a "busy summer" and calling new Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte "the best manager in the world".

Lukaku scored in the 45th and 57th minutes before Kevin de Bruyne added gloss to the scoreline in injury time to ensure Belgium maintain their perfect record in Group I after four games.

The striker scored just 15 times for Manchester United last season, but is Belgium's all-time top scorer with 48 international goals.

Belgian fans staged a display of affection for "Big Rom" before kick-off, unveiling giant banners reading "26 years old, already a legend", prompting coach Roberto Martinez to call it a "love" that made the side unique in Europe.

"I just feel sometimes a bit sad when I don't see Rom enjoying his football," Martinez said.

"When he enjoys his football, he's a lethal goalscorer."

Lukaku's United teammate Scott McTominay, who started for Scotland, called the 26-year-old a "world-class striker" while Scotland boss Steve Clarke, who managed Lukaku at West Bromwich Albion, added: "I've just had a big cuddle with him in the tunnel. He apologised for scoring.

"He wants to get better and better. He wants to keep challenging himself.

"When you're a top player and you want to keep getting better, things can only look up."

Whether Lukaku will try to improve his game at United or elsewhere is not clear.

When asked about his future, he said: "I have a contract with Man United. I'll speak with my club and my agent... to make the best decision.

"I am going to enjoy my holidays with my family now...

"We'll see. If I expect a busy summer? Yes...

"I've had a difficult season at club level. I lost my place and haven't played much.

NEXT STEP

"But that is a phase in my career and it will help me for the next step."

When asked if the next step would be at Inter, Lukaku declined to comment.

However, he did tell an Italian media outlet that Inter's new boss Conte was the "best manager in the world".

Conte wanted to sign Lukaku to replace Diego Costa when he was Chelsea manager and is reportedly keen on bringing him to the San Siro. The striker, meanwhile, has said he wants to play in Italy.

Lukaku told Mediaset Sport yesterday: "It's good to see Conte join Inter, for me he is the best manager in the world.

"I've already taken a decision about the future, but I can't reveal it because I have a contract with Manchester United and because I respect the club.

"I am a big fan of Serie A. Anyone who knows me is aware that I wanted to play in the (English) Premier League and that I also want to play in Serie A."

Football