Last season was a mixed campaign for Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, who enjoyed great form in the first half of the campaign and picked up a winners’ medal in both the FA Cup and Champions League, but he fell out of favour after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked and has even been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have boosted their attacking options this summer by signing Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, with Victor Moses and possibly more to follow. Because of this, Sturridge has become something of a forgotten man and will have to work a lot harder to get into the first XI than he did last season. It also seems as though he wants to play as a centre forward, like he did for Great Britain at the Olympics, but is that really his best position?
Roberto Di Matteo recently rubbished rumours about Sturridge leaving the club this summer amid interest from Tottenham and Liverpool by saying that the 22-year-old will feature in his plans.
“I see him as part of my plans, absolutely.
“He’s part of the squad and the team, and still has a lot to give.
“He still has a lot to learn as well, but we’re hopeful he can develop even more and become a fantastic and great player for us.”
Despite this, it is still hard to see what the future holds for Sturridge. He scored 13 goals and made seven assists for the Blues last season which is a great achievement for a young forward that has just made his way into first team contention, so where is the doubt coming from?
One criticism often thrown Sturridge’s way is his apparent poor attitude and arrogance. Arrogance is not uncommon in strikers but Sturridge hasn’t done or proved anything yet and should have been grateful to even be in the first XI during what was to be his breakthrough season, which is why many fans are irked by his supposed demands about playing the centre-forward role and the rumours that he’s been seeking assurances over this.
He was probably annoyed that he didn’t get many chances to play centre-forward last season as Didier Drogba had a mixed season and Torres has been piss-poor since he arrived from Liverpool for £50m in January 2011, that’s fair enough. However, he’s not the man that picks the team and if he’s asked to play somewhere for the good of the team, he should give all his effort. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to other things, but he’s the one that has to put his head down and earn it, he’s owed nothing.
I’m not entirely sure if he fully understands what it means to lead the line of attack and has a lot of maturing to do in this way, especially as he’s not all that adapt at holding up the ball and bringing his other team-mates into play. Another criticism I have of him is his unwillingness to track back or do any work when we do not have the ball, even Lionel Messi works off the ball, so should Sturridge.
I could be wrong and I’m not doubting his talent, but I don’t ever see Sturridge as a centre forward at Stamford Bridge as I believe he’s better playing slightly wide of the main striker. This may not be enough to please him and considering Villas-Boas being such a big fan of the player and the fact that Tottenham have next to no forwards, his desire to play centre forward could be fulfilled elsewhere, so he may leave if this is what matters to him.