Thomas Tuchel has hailed the influence Romelu Lukaku has had in the locker room since returning to Chelsea, saying he could even be the club’s captain in the future.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea from Inter Milan last month on a record club deal for £ 97.5million and has scored four goals in his first four games.

What he does off the pitch, however, impressed Tuchel, who told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview: “He’s a very democratic communicator – he treats everyone with the same respect, the same attitude.

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“He’s a competitor at the highest level – he loves training, he has a smile on his face, he wants to win every single competition. That’s good. He sets a good example.”

Chelsea’s current captain is Cesar Azpilicueta – who has entered the final year of his contract – and when asked if Lukaku was a possible successor, Tuchel said, “Yes, I think he could be the captain.

“But we have fantastic captains so you don’t have to think about it now. He’s acting like one and that’s more important than actually having the captain’s gang.”

Romelu Lukaku
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Romelu Lukaku scored two goals against Aston Villa in his last Premier League game

Lukaku’s regular presence as Chelsea’s No. 9 represents a change from her earlier approach under Tuchel, who often played the smaller Timo Werner through the middle or Kai Havertz used as the false nine.

The head coach led the Blues to Champions League glory using this approach, but says he’s adjusting to get the most out of Lukaku and praised the way the striker has already gelled with his new teammates.

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Tuchel believes that Antonio Rüdiger would have few reasons to leave the club next summer when his contract expires

“I learn things from him,” said Tuchel. “How he feels about the game, where he wants to score, how he wants to help, how he feels safe to keep his opponents away. This is how you adapt to your player.

“I’m very happy to see him so humble and so involved in the communication with everyone. We had a strong bond in the team last season – which was the key to success – and we rely on the bond and atmosphere again.”

“Romelu is a big part of it and a fantastic guy.”

“It’s a dangerous time to play Spurs”

Lukaku will look to continue his formidable return to English football with a victorious performance when Chelsea heads to Tottenham on Sunday – live on Sky Sports from 4pm – in #GameZero, the first elite-level net-zero-carbon game .

Spurs enter the game with doubts about the fitness of a number of players – including strikers Heung-Min Son, Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura – but Tuchel insists it could be a dangerous time for Chelsea to face their London rivals.

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Thomas Tuchel has praised Tottenham striker Harry Kane and believes he is one of the best players in the world

He said, “It [the injuries] can also be a good platform at times to build a really strong mentality.

“We’ve all been in these places where they say, ‘Oh no, no more injury’ and then there’s a tough game – a London derby – and you might find yourself in that underdog role. You take the energy out of the stadium and Struggle.

“They will aim for victory – I don’t believe in anything else. They will try everything and the crowd will help them because it creates such an atmosphere sometimes. The crowd will know that they are missing some players and that they need extra support.”

“We have to be well prepared to implement our style and for a tough game. It’s full of emotions, it’s full of energy – it’s a beautiful one.”

How can Tottenham stop Lukaku?

From Ron Walker

Romelu Lukaku has announced his return to Chelsea with four goals in as many games. How can Tottenham prevent the “captain” of the blues from adding another one this weekend?

Lukaku has been described as a “complete striker” by Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness after his brace in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa last Saturday and has returned to the Premier League after 47 goals in Serie A in the last two first step made season at Inter Milan.

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He is the missing piece of the puzzle for Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League winner, who scored only 25 goals in the German’s 19 responsible league games last season and owes his improved results almost exclusively to a supported defensive line, which conceded only 15 goals this time while keeping 11 sheets clean.

Lukaku’s arrival has given opposition managers new headaches. The 28-year-old is a nightmare in the box, has already exceeded his expected goal goal and has won more duels than almost anyone in his first three games – and one of the best creators of Chelsea at the same time. Tuchel himself admitted that the blues “missed” someone of his quality.

“He’s Tore,” said Souness. “You have someone who can get you goals out of nowhere. I think he’s almost the complete striker – he’s very good at everything.”

Arsenal’s Pablo Mari was brought to the cleaners on his debut with Lukaku but he’s just as ready to punish defenders who give him space as he proved with his fabulous touch and finish for Chelsea’s third counterplay Villa.

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo has already defeated a tough opponent in Manchester City this season – and how does he keep the great Belgian in check when he competes in the Sky Sports Premier League in #GameZero this weekend?