Liverpool v Manchester City: Daniel Sturridge believes leaving City helped him become the player he is today

Striker is aiming to lead club and country to success this year but feels he wouldn't be a regular starter if he had stayed at City

Daniel Sturridge feels that he would not be a regular starter for club or country if he had stayed at Manchester City when his contract expired in 2009.

Sturridge elected to leave the club on a free transfer and eventually chose to join Chelsea, with the Blues shelling out a small compensation fee as the striker was under the age of 24. Struggling to find a way into the first team, Sturridge soon joined Liverpool, where he has flourished under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers and alongside Luis Suarez.

Ahead of a pivotal Premier League encounter with title rivals Manchester City this Sunday, Sturridge has explained how leaving the club has helped him become the player he is today – the 24-year-old is expected to lead England’s attack at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer.

“I would not have got to where I am today if I had stayed,” Sturridge told the Daily Mirror.

“It was difficult for me at Manchester City as a young player aged 18 or 19, with all the money they have.

 

“Realistically, you look back and they only have Micah Richards from the academy playing for the club's first team - everyone else has been signed by Man City, so I feel I made the right decision leaving there.”

Sturridge also revealed his reasoning behind his Chelsea exit, where a lack of first-team opportunities and the club’s reluctance to play him as a centre-forward saw the striker seek a move elsewhere.

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“At first, it was a matter of learning from the likes of Didier, and I thought I would get my opportunity sooner, but they didn't believe in me as a centre forward,” he added.

“They always said, 'You're not a centre-forward, you're a winger' - that's how they saw me, but that hurt me because I've played down the middle all my life.

“The pitch has always been where I've been able to express myself the most, where I feel happiest, and I was deprived of that opportunity at Chelsea.

“There were times when I was sat at home, very upset, and I fell out of love with the game.”

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