blogAuthor: michaelcalvin | Filed under: Blog
Chelsea are not short of a bob or two. Manchester City do not really need the money. But both have a vested interest in the development of Danny Sturridge into an England international before the Euro 2012 finals.
Sturridge, who will seek to extend a run of four goals in as many games in Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Genk tonight, is likely to win his first senior cap in next month’s Wembley friendlies against Spain and Sweden.
His debut will cost Chelsea £1million, as part of the deal which involves them also paying City an additional £2million, when he completes 40 appearances at club level. Cheap at double the price, in football’s hyper-inflated market place.
Momentum is everything in sport, and Sturridge’s career has been accelerated by the misfortune of others. He stands to be one of the principal beneficiaries of Wayne Rooney’s self-imposed problems with England, and offers a solution to the Fernando Torres conundrum at Chelsea.
We are beginning to appreciate André Villas-Boas, as a manager whose patronage must be earned. The Portugeezer is measured in his praise, cautious in his outlook. So when he compared Sturridge to Hulk, the striker he nurtured at Porto, everyone’s ears pricked up.
Hulk may have a cartoon name, but he is for real. The Brazil striker comes with a buy-out clause of €100million and a goal highlight DVD that deserves to be played on a loop. Villas-Boas believes Sturridge has the potential to be a similar gamebreaker, because of the reliability of his technique at pace.
Torres, who has claimed the central striker’s role, clearly sees him as more of a provider. Sturridge has been used on the right of the front three, using his speed and vision to cut inside. That creates space, and mutual opportunities.
Chelsea’s dressing room has a well defined hierarchy, so when Frank Lampard entered the debate, people listened. He concluded: “Danny has skill, unbelievable speed and can finish.” What more can you ask? At the Bridge, that is the equivalent of a Papal blessing.
The extent of the opportunity is as obvious as the challenge to Sturridge’s maturity. Having trained with City’s first-team squad from the age of 15 he acquired a reputation for arrogance. Last season’s successful loan spell at Bolton, under the shrewd tutelage of Owen Coyle, seems to have been pivotal in his development, both as a player and a person.
Danny Boy has become a man.