Gary Cahill has said it has saddened him to see talented young players leave Chelsea in recent years and praised Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku for turning himself into a world-class striker since departing Stamford Bridge.
“When he was here he had talent but he was very young,” Cahill said. “He’s developed into a world-class striker so credit to him.
“Sometimes when you’re at a club like Chelsea you feel sorry when you see a player move on, because naturally some progress and some don’t. You don’t hear about the ones that don’t.
“We all know it’s hard to have time to come in as a young player — maybe the club and the supporters give you seven, eight, nine games where you’re rusty and not performing.
“It’s difficult to do that. They’ve gone on and developed elsewhere, and he’s gone on to be a top player. There are loads of them.”
Cahill will face Lukaku when Chelsea take on United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday and he is under no illusions as to the nature of the challenge.
“It’ll be difficult,” he said. “I’ve played against him and trained against him loads of times. His attributes are what everyone can see: pace, power, strength and he can finish. His goal-scoring record is very good.
“But we’re not focusing on one player in this team. First and foremost, we’re focused on what we’re trying to do, and be respectful of the fact that they have numerous players who can turn a game on its head — as do we.”
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