Michy Batshuayi relishing Belgium strike partnership with Romelu Lukaku
Michy Batshuayi says he enjoyed the experience of playing up front alongside Romelu Lukaku for Belgium in the absence of the injured Eden Hazard.
Chelsea striker Batshuayi scored his country's opening goal in a 2-1 friendly victory over Czech Republic on Monday, hours after the Blues confirmed that Hazard will be sidelined for up to three months with a broken ankle sustained during a Belgium training session.
Deprived of the services of Hazard, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez opted to start the game with Batshuayi in a strike partnership with Lukaku -- who is the subject of reported interest from former club Chelsea this summer -- and after the match the former Marseille man said he believed the tactical change had been a productive one.
"I really enjoyed playing in attack with two strikers," Batshuayi told reporters. "The coach asked me to give of myself physically. With Romelu, we had to take turns in dropping off, never stay in the same line. The system worked well.
"We scored a magnificent goal. I'm here for the team. I'm ready to start on Friday [against Estonia]. I have had a difficult season at Chelsea, but I have come out of it stronger mentally. I am even hungrier."
Batshuayi made just one Premier League start for Chelsea last season but finished the campaign strongly, scoring the goal at West Brom that clinched the title for the club, while netting twice on the final day against Sunderland.
Chelsea could be willing to allow Batshuayi to leave Stamford Bridge on loan this summer if another striker is signed, though Hazard's injury may also prompt Antonio Conte to switch to play two up front from the start of next season.
Hazard's father, Thierry, told Nieuwsblad after Monday's ankle surgery that he expects his son to make a full recovery.
"The doctors have said that it is a clean break, and Eden's morale is good," he said. "Of course it's not very nice to start your holidays on crutches, but Eden told me there are more serious things in life. It's unlucky, it can happen to any footballer. And don't forget it's the first major injury of his career. Our only priority is Eden's recovery."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.