I’ve felt inclined to jot down a few opinions on our sought after striker and Team GB player, Daniel Sturridge. I’ve been reading far too many negative comments regarding Sturridge being selfish or having the wrong attitude. I feel that this is simply not the case.

With Liverpool in the hunt to bring Sturridge to Anfield before Saturday, Chelsea have reportedly slapped a £25 million price tag on the 23-year-old. I can’t see Chelsea allowing him to leave, especially not now, maybe in january if he hasn’t nailed down a place, then he’ll leave.

Does anyone remember the England song that was released by New Order called ‘World In Motion’? This song featured the likes of Liverpool’s John Barnes doing a very interesting ‘rap’, if you can call it that. But Barnes rapping abilities are not what I’m talking about here, it was the song’s encouragement for the England team to, I quote ‘express yourself, it’s one on one’.

I am a great believer of allowing players to do what they do best and try different things. After all, if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. Look at Gary Cahill’s recent 30-yard goal, that should never had gone in, but it did go in and he was a hero. If however the keeper saved it like he should have, it would be called a waste and he should have passed it, but you didn’t hear that, as it went in.

My point? Daniel Sturridge is not a selfish player, he is purely lacking decision making abilities. He sometimes makes the wrong decision in an eager attempt to impress or prove a point. Can you blame him? He’s in a squad amongst some of the best players in the world, if he gets a sight on goal, a chance to score a 25-yard curling bullet, then he’s going to go for it. I admire that, it shows confidence, and is merely the player expressing himself.

At grass roots level in the UK, players are coached to not express themselves or to always play the easy option, which is why our current crop of English players are so reserved. Can you imagine if a Spanish coach told a 12-year-old Lionel Messi not to try and take players on and to pass it more? Then we would not be here today talking about him being one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. At Spanish grass roots level, they allow players to roam free and do what they feel they can do, which is why they’re the best in the world.

And before you jump on me, no way am I comparing Sturridge to Messi, I’m simply giving you an example of a player who was encouraged to do his thing when he was younger, and it’s turned him in to the world’s finest. If a player has a talent to shoot or to run past defenders, then encourage them to do so. Do not see it as a weakness.

Yes Daniel Sturridge needs to work on his decision making and tracking back when he plays wide, those are both things that can be and will be coached. He is a goal hungry striker and prefers to play as a centre forward. He needs to work on playing as more of a team player, which I’m sure he is fully aware of and I’ve seen a vast improvement on early this season.

I don’t believe he is selfish, nor does he have a bad attitude. I believe it is a case of trying too hard to prove himself and bad decision making. He has confidence, not a bad attitude. He truly believes in his own ability and feels he can score with every shot, why is that such a bad trait to have?

Paul Gascoigne was a very expressive player, he was allowed room to do what he wanted and even if people didn’t like his character or attitude, he went on to become one of the best midfielders to ever wear the 3 lions shirt. If you don’t try the extravagant, then it won’t happen. How many times has Sturridge scored important goals for Chelsea when perhaps a pass inside was a better option? You don’t hear about those though, because they went in.

I’m not doubting the boy has a lot to improve on, and yes he does need to track back more and make better decisions, but please do not slate a player for merely trying to express himself and do what he feels he has the ability to do.

Final food for thought – Cristiano Ronaldo also used to get called ‘too selfish’, now look at him.

So Danny, go ahead son, express yourself, your one on one.

Simon Phillips – News Editor

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