A couple of years ago, Raheem Sterling was considered as one of England’s best players – now, after a disappointing season at Chelsea, his position in the international squad needs to be questioned.
As a footballer, Sterling has devolved from a lethal wide man from a common-or-garden winger who is currently being played out of position. It has been a startling fall from grace fro the former Liverpool and Manchester City man – but what has gone wrong?
When he was snapped up by Chelsea in the summer, he was immediately shunted into a system that did not suit him. Instead of being able to play out wide and gradually drift centrally, Sterling was played as an attacking midfielder under Thomas Tuchel.
Occasionally, he would play as Chelsea’s lone striker, but this did little to help – he did not have the strength or technical ability required to hold the ball up and protect it from defenders.
The system did not change much under Graham Potter, who continued to play Sterling in unfamiliar roles. He is being asked to play low-tempo possession game under Frank Lampard – something that he could not be less suited to if he tried.
The player that Sterling was is still in there – but he is not being played to his strengths. Worse still, with the influx of wingers bought by Chelsea in January, his game time is becoming more and more limited.
At this stage, a clean break may be the best option for all parties. Chelsea need to sell players in the summer to balance their FFP spending – Sterling may be one of the first names on the chopping block.