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Sep 24, 2012

Lukaku tired of Drogba comparisons

Romelu Lukaku insists he's fed up being compared with his former Chelsea mentor Didier Drogba and is yearning to be recognised as a star in his own right.

The on-loan Chelsea forward marked his first Premier League start for West Bromwich Albion by hitting the only goal at home to Reading and making his pre-season capture seem an even more astute piece of Hawthorns business.

The giant Belgian also scored last month against Liverpool - the club Albion face in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday - but paid tribute to Shane Long, the man who made way for him in the starting line-up at the weekend.

"In the beginning, it was nice to hear the comparisons but every player wants to make his own name," he said.

"I want to make my own name. Drogba was my big idol and my father also played in Belgium. I looked also to my father but really I want to make my own style of play. I want to be myself, I want the people to say 'this is Romelu Lakuku,' not the new Drogba. I just want to be me and hopefully I will have a big career.

"Shane did very well when he came on and all credit to him for my goal. He won the ball in a duel for me and I had to do the rest. Then Markus Rosenberg came on and defensively did very well, made some good tackles and created some chances.

"In our team, there is always good competition and we have to continue like that. When a player comes on, he wants to do the best for the team, so the next game he can start."

Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo did a belated favour to the club he used to manage by recommending them to the teenager, who also felt a spell outside London would advance his progress.

"I spoke to Steve Clarke as well and I just told him: 'You help me improve and I'll do the rest.' With the good signings we have had, the good competition and the quality of players, I think I had no choice when moving here because it felt good.

"I have big expectation for the squad. Hopefully we can finish as close as possible to the big six. You never know in this league.

"I wanted to see another side of football as well and I thought West Brom would be the perfect place for me to develop myself. I was told by a lot of players that it was a friendly club and when I arrived here it was similar to Anderlecht.

"My girlfriend and I have settled ourselves very well. I'm in the perfect position to perform week in and week out.

"It is very important for me to play. I'm just 19 but I want to play as much as I can in the next two years so, at 21, I can be where I want to be.

"Some people will still look at me like a baby, then there is the World Cup and stuff like that. Last year I had good preparation at Chelsea, now I can show myself at West Brom."

Lukaku speaks more than half a dozen languages, including a smattering of German, and has revealed he is aiding Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob's settling-in by conversing with him in Spanish.

"Education is very important in Belgium and, if you didn't do well at school in the week, you couldn't play football at the weekend," he added.

On the emergence of a Belgium team that is tipped for big things, he said: "I think we have a good side but I cannot say we are the best Belgium side there has been. We haven't played in the Euros or World Cups for the last 10 years so if we don't perform (qualify) for the World Cup 2014, I will not say big things about ourselves. I think we have to prove ourselves to the world and then we can talk."

However, unfortunately for Albion, if Lukaku continues to find the back of the net for the club it could prove to bring a premature end to his loan deal at the Hawthorns.

With Chelsea only having two recognised strikers in Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge on their books, it has been reported that di Matteo could recall the Belgium international in January - something which Steve Clarke is well aware of.

"If he scores 20 goals by Christmas and Chelsea want him back, there's not a lot I can do," Clarke said.

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