One to Watch - Daniel Sturridge
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge has been outlined as the One to Watch ahead of Wednesday's clash against QPR.
Name: Daniel Sturridge
Date of Birth: 01-09-1989 (Birmingham)
Former Clubs: Aston Villa (trainee), Coventry City (trainee), Manchester City
Appearances (Goals): 22 (5)
Daniel, the nephew of former QPR striker Dean Sturridge started life in the academy of local club Aston Villa. He was a native to Birmingham and this seemed a natural selection in his early years.
Unfortunately for him Villa had other ideas and he was forced to try his hand at another relatively local club, Coventry City.
It was here that Sturridge impressed the visiting scouts and Manchester City came calling for his signature. The figure rising to a possible £200,000 was agreed via the Football League and a 13-year-old Sturridge penned a YTS deal with the Citizens.
A year later he won the title of most valuable player at the Nike Tournament with City and he added to a growing reputation as he continued to play his way through the ranks at Eastlands.
His goals in Manchester City's youth side of 2006 helped them to the final against Liverpool, which was eventually lost by the odd goal, 3-2.
He was quickly becoming one of the hottest commodities in youth football, and Manchester City were quick to sign him up to his first professional contract, and Sturridge didn't look back from there.
His form for the reserves earned him a first call-up to the first team, as he was named on the bench for the visit of Reading to Eastlands. He came from the bench replacing Georgios Samaras with little over 15 minutes remaining.
Leroy Lita's brace saw Reading to a comfortable 2-0 away win in the final ten minutes. Another home loss came at home to Wigan with Sturridge getting the final four minutes, replacing full-back Michael Ball.
A hip injury saw off his contribution for the remainder of the season as City finished a disappointing 14th in the Premier League. He was to return to the first-team fold a year later as City took on Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
He scored his first goal in yet another defeat for City as balloons got the better of Richard Dunne at Bramall Lane. A proud moment for Sturridge came as he scored on his full debut away to the eventually relegated Derby County in a 1-1 draw.
Two more appearances that season came against Arsenal and Sunderland, with Sturridge at last playing a part in a victory for his side at The Stadium of Light.
In the 2008-09 season Sturridge upped his appearance figures with 26 games ensuing for the young striker, eight of which came in the Uefa Cup. He scored four goals in a positive season with City, and was subsequently voted as the Young Player of the Season.
It became clear however that he wasn't going to sign a new contract at Eastlands, and the formality of a move was complete when Chelsea pounced to sign the young striker in the summer of 2009.
The fee is yet to be decided by tribunal, but nevertheless a four year deal was penned with the Blues, as he impressed during pre-season with some lively performances.
He has made only one appearance this season, at the place where he scored only a couple of seasons previous, Sunderland. He replaced Didier Drogba with little over five minutes remaining in a 3-1 win for Chelsea.
At present Sturridge is finding first-team opportunity hard to come by with the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou and the aforementioned Drogba sitting infront of him at Stamford Bridge.
With Chelsea expected to blood the youth against QPR this Wednesday, Sturridge should get his first start for the Blues and will undoubtedly be looking to impress new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
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