One to Watch - Daniel Sturridge
Name: Daniel Sturridge
Date of Birth: 1/9/1989
Former Clubs: Man City, Bolton
League Appearances (Goals): 75 (23)
International Appearances (Goals): 1 (0)
Stat of the Day: Daniel Sturridge has scored a goal ever 132 minutes on average in the Premier League this season
I was especially surprised to see Manchester City let Daniel Sturridge leave at all, let alone allowing his contract to expire, considering his clear potential and the fact they had Roque Santa Cruz in their squad at the time. The 22-year-old is now at Chelsea, scoring, playing well and fashioning a blossoming reputation as a future Premier League and England star. The striker undoubtedly benefited from a loan spell at Bolton under Owen Coyle`s apparent 'superb man-management expertise` and despite naively being utilised as an attacking left winger under Andre Villas Boas, Sturridge is still one of the few stand out performers in a labouring Chelsea side.
Whilst Sturridge is clearly talented - pacey on and off the ball, a very strong left foot and the knack of scoring spectacular and audacious goals - he has come under scrutiny for his showy arrogance. It may be understandable when your manager refuses to play you ahead of a striker who would be better seen participating in the theatrics of an El Classico, whilst the other is quite simply rubbish, but such egotism will only get you so far. Hard work is required for the striker and a few more consistently good performances may permit justification for his apparent £100 000/week wage demands. Sturridge was unfairly substituted in the first half in Chelsea`s last outing at Loftus Road due to his side`s reckless and brainless defending and will surely be out to seek some form of retribution.
Daniel Sturridge spent his early youth career at Aston Villa and Coventry before being poached by Manchester City at the tender age of fourteen. His reputation continued to flourish as he finished top goalscorer and player of the tournament at the Under 15 Nike Cup, coming up against the likes of Bojan, Mamadou Sakho and Giovanni dos Santos. Stuart Pearce gave him his first taste of first team football but opportunities were limited under Sven-Goran Eriksson. Impressive performances in the FA Youth Cup winning side soon put Sturridge back in the radar and it was Mark Hughes who gave the striker ample game time in the first team, making a total of twenty six appearances in the 2007/2008 season.
City started to splash the cash and as they brought in the likes of Adebayor, Tevez and Bellamy, Sturridge found himself lower down the pecking order at Eastlands. Demanding £55 000/week, City refused to offer the young star a contract and he eventually signed for Chelsea with a fee agreed for a possible £6.5 million. He made a steady start to his career at Stamford Bridge, with the 2009/2010 season providing a solid foundation for future impressive performances. The following season he joined Bolton on a six month loan deal and it was at The Reebook he started to thrive and prove his real worth. He managed eight goals in twelve appearances for Bolton and upon returning managed to impressive new manager Villas Boas to warrant an extended run in the starting line up.