Daniel Sturridge's time limit at Chelsea expires as he fails to match his own hype

Chelsea striker promised much but delivered little and is being sold to Liverpool while youth is still on his side

During more than three years at Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge has been plagued with the suggestions that he is too flash, unpopular with team-mates and has an inflated view of his own value to the team.

Whether or not that is the case, there has been a bigger, more significant problem: a succession of Chelsea managers have failed to pick him.

It was a bold move in the first place, running down his contract at Manchester City just as the club looked to be in a position to mount a serious challenge in English football. At his first Chelsea press conference he said that his England Under-21 team-mate Scott Sinclair had convinced him it would be the ideal club. It was pointed out to him that Sinclair had tried in vain for a number of years to break into the Chelsea first team.

Now on his way to Liverpool for £12million, it is the turn of another manager, Brendan Rodgers, to get the most out of a talented player. There have been many mercurial stars whose form has inexplicably gone up and down, the question is whether Sturridge, still only 23, is quite good enough to be indulged in spite of those fluctuations.

He came to Chelsea promising to make an impact on the team and will leave having made 96 appearances, 47 of them as a substitute. He spent the second half of the 2010-11 season on loan at Bolton Wanderers where he hit a run of goalscoring form that put Fernando Torres’ struggles into perspective with him having joined from Liverpool in the same month that Sturridge was shipped out.

The arrival of Torres was unfortunate for Sturridge, denying him the  opportunity to play in the more central role that he claims is his most natural position rather than the right wing where he has most often found himself. It is not as if Torres has made that position his own with his performances, rather it has been Chelsea’s grim persistence with him that has counted. Yet even if Torres had never joined, you have to wonder whether Sturridge would have been Didier Drogba’s natural successor

He has been unlucky with injury this season and would have played in the Champions League tie against Juventus last month that turned out to be Roberto Di Matteo’s last game in charge but he was hurt in training.

Sturridge’s goals record of 24 for the club is not an embarrassment. Torres has scored exactly the same amount for the club having made more starts (69) than Sturridge and having made almost exactly the same number of  appearances overall (94).

Under Andre Villas-Boas in the early part of last season Sturridge was given a run in the team and played in bigger games like against Manchester United. But when it came to the Champions League and FA Cup finals under Di Matteo he was left on the bench.

The problem at Chelsea is that there is a time limit on every player to make a meaningful impact on the team. Once that runs out, you are surplus to requirements. That has been the case with Sturridge with the arrival of  attacking players like Victor Moses and Eden Hazard.

There is no doubting Sturridge is a confident boy, and perfectly pleasant when facing the press. Chelsea will not have made the decision to sell lightly, given how young he is and the prospect that he could improve. As ever, the signs point towards a major signing next month, with Radamel Falcao at the top of the list.

Even Chelsea, with Roman Abramovich’s investment, have to show that they can make money as well as spend it in the transfer market. Sturridge, with his youth, is a particularly saleable asset.

With four caps so far, his England career has never really taken off either. He was one of the standby players for Euro 2012 and was not taken by Roy Hodgson, even when Wayne Rooney was suspended for the first two games. He finally played for the new England manager in the defeat to Sweden in November. All four of his caps have been substitutes’ appearances.

At Liverpool, he will hope to start matches but would still arrives  beneath Luis Suarez in the pecking order. It is a situation with which he is familiar, whether he is capable of changing it remains to be seen.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower