Ian Wright questions Graham Potter’s ‘confusing’ misuse of Raheem Sterling at Chelsea after being played as a wing-back… as the England star struggles for goals ahead of their Premier League clash with Arsenal
Ian Wright has questioned Chelsea manager Graham Potter’s ‘confusing’ usage of attacker Raheem Sterling before of their Premier League match against Arsenal.
The England international joined the Blues for £50 million in the summer from Premier League rivals Manchester City, but he has only scored five goals and assisted two in 16 games this season.
Sterling, who became one of Europe’s finest strikers under Pep Guardiola at City, has been used in a number of positions at Stamford Bridge since Potter’s arrival, including wing-back.
The 27-year-old has only scored one goal in his previous 11 games, and his record is a cause for concern as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar approaches.
Potter has rotated the team on a regular basis since joining Chelsea from Brighton & Hove Albion, but his selection choices have come under scrutiny as he has continued to play players such as Sterling out of position.
‘It’s one of the most perplexing things Graham Potter is doing right now,’ Wright stated on The Kelly and Wrighty Show. ‘I can’t wrap my mind around it.
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‘When I performed the analysis on [Chelsea’s loss to Brighton], the full-back position was totally torn to bits because you’ve got [Christian] Pulisic and Sterling who are supposed to come and aid [Trevoh] Chalobah and [Marc] Cucurella. It wasn’t occurring, and I couldn’t figure out why.
‘There’s no way he [Sterling] can be happy playing that position, especially given what he’s done at City and the squad he was in, where everything was focused on offence for him.
‘It must be weird and difficult for him to go to a new club and have to play in that position.’ I hope they can get that all out for him shortly.’
Sterling, on the other hand, is happy with his new wing-back position, despite admitting that he is better when he plays ‘near to the box.’
‘It’s like anything, you come to a new team, different things will be demanded of you,’ he explained to Kelly Cates and Ian Wright.
‘It’s a whole different form. I haven’t played in a back five in a long time, but the manager has requested me to do so, and I am more than delighted to oblige.
‘When we have got the ball, I am high and wide but of course you have to defend. But the more I’m next to the box, the better I am for myself.
‘But the more time I have to figure it out in this position, I am more than happy to play it.’
Sterling went on to describe what his best position was, while saying that new manager Graham Potter was “dumped in the middle of a tempest” following Thomas Tuchel’s dismissal.
‘I think my greatest position is as a winger,’ the 27-year-old stated.
‘But the manager has his own style of play, and he hasn’t had a complete preseason with us; he was truly dumped in the middle of a storm.’
‘He has taken it with both hands and is attempting to determine the ideal persons for roles.’ ‘I keep telling myself that it will all come together in the end.’
Chelsea will host London rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (12pm), and Sterling will be hoping to be used in a more familiar position.