Former Premier League player Jelle van Damme, a man who calls Romelu Lukaku “his son”, expects the Belgian to live up to his price tag at Manchester United.
Van Damme had two brief spells in England with Southampton and Wolves, but one of the longer stays during his club career came at the same time Lukaku was coming through the youth ranks at Anderlecht.
The two players developed a close bond and, by a twist of fate, Lukaku is now in line to make his United debut on Saturday against an LA Galaxy side captained by Van Damme.
Van Damme headed to the MLS in February 2016 and secured a berth in the MLS All-Star team in his first season in California.
Lukaku spent time with Van Damme in Los Angeles before completing his move to United, which could end up costing them £90m, and his fellow Belgium international will be an interested spectator when the Premier League season gets underway in August.
Van Damme told Sky Sports News HQ: “He was with me at Anderlecht when he came into the first team and he was like my son. We just connected from the first time [we met].
“You don’t get along with everyone in football but we just clicked. He was 16 and already a big guy, and it was just all about working and keeping his feet on the ground.
“I took care of him and I still talk with him a lot. I saw him a few times last week while he was here having his holidays, and we talked about his switch to Man United.
“I am glad for him. United is a good club for him – he’s a good player and is a good asset for Manchester United I think.
“There is going to be a lot of pressure on his shoulders but I think he can handle that. He has some brains up there and he will be fine.”Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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