Daniel Sturridge is likely to stay at Stamford Bridge rather than seek first-team football elsewhere this season. Bolton, who took Sturridge on loan in January, had been hoping for a further six-month deal to keep the 21-year-old striker at the Reebok Stadium.
Their manager, Owen Coyle, conceded that Bolton would be unable to afford to offer Sturridge a permanent contract but could give him regular first-team football to further his development. In his 12 league games for Bolton, Sturridge scored eight times. At Stamford Bridge, he would have to compete for a place with Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka and had said he would consider a move away from the club.
However, Sturridge said the freedom that manager Andre Villas-Boas had given him on tour was something he had not experienced before and he was now keen to take his chances at Chelsea. "The tricks and flicks have been part of my game, they always have been," he said after the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy that saw Chelsea overcome Aston Villa 2-0, a match in which Torres scored his long-awaited first goal of the tour.
"The manager has given me licence to express myself. I have never had that before with any manager. He has let me off the leash if you like. He has given me a lot more freedom than I have ever had and I will enjoy my football a lot more.
"It is not just me either; everyone feels like that. He wants us to attack and not be too defensive. That is refreshing. The tour has been great. The manager has shown faith in me."
Josh McEachran scored Chelsea's first goal in the first minute after Shay Given had saved from Anelka and Torres scored with his first touch after coming on as a second-half substitute.Reuse content