As the Chelsea strikers England career begins to take off, Roberto Mancini wonders what could have been.
Back in 2009 Daniel Sturridge left a promising career at Manchester City behind to start afresh in the capital with Chelsea.
He was struggling to break into city’s first team as heavy weights such as Filipe Caicedo stood in his way, with then manager Mark Hughes considering the youngster to be too much of an ego, instead opting to sign level headed duo Carlos Tevez and Manu Adebayor for an obscene amount of money.
Sturridge left for £3 million rising to a potential £6 million at a time when his former club were making tidal waves in the transfer market, but his own stock has risen dramatically recently, with the 22 year oldproducing a rare glimmer of hope in a miserable season for his crisis ridden club.
Now City’s current man at the helm Roberto Mancini has spoken of his admiration for the exciting forward, with the Manchester Evening News reporting he’d have never let him leave the club under his stewardship.
“I asked him last year when he played for Bolton why he left Manchester City and he said he didn’t know,” said Mancini. “I know Sturridge well, I have watched him many times. Given the chance I think I would have liked to have kept him, but now he is at Chelsea we can do nothing. I know for sure he was one of the best young players that was here.”
With more experienced stars such as Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda having relinquished their status as first team regulars due in no small part to the form of Sturridge, Mancini’s words will do much to enhance the players already far from modest confidence levels.
Though frustrating at times, all too often beating his man only to shoot from an improbable angle, Chelsea’s starlet now represents the future for club and country. Former boss Mark Hughes may not have been convinced, but this is a man who considers QPR as the club to match his managerial ambitions.
Sturridge is only one of many players to have left their cubs at a young age only to thrive in a new environment, leaving their former employers to rue a hasty and ill advised decision:
Gary Cahill – Aston Villa
Back in 2008 Aston Villa were blessed with the likes of Zat Knight and Curtis Davies in the center back positions. They decided to let their youth team product Gary Cahill leave for relegation threatened Bolton. The signing was inspired as he kept the trotters up and performed consistently for four seasons before leaving for Chelsea this January.
Gerard Pique – Manchester United
After United endured a dream campaign in the 2007-08 season, they disposed of Spaniard Pique to Barcelona with Ferdinand and Vidic proving to be immovable objects at the heart of their defence. Since then both have been ravaged with injury whilst Pique has gone on to win just about everything with the best team of the modern era.
Andrew Johnson – Birmingham City
When Birmingham were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2002, Steve Bruce went about dismantling his sides forward line. His first port of call was to sell give Johnson and £5 million to Crystal Palace in exchange for Clinton Morrison. Johnson is now a proven Premier League performer, even surpassing 20 goals in the 2004-05 season. Clinton Morrison is not.
Ya Ya Toure – Arsenal
Back in 2004 Arsene Wenger took brother of Kolo Ya Ya Toure on trial. But after a few unconvincing displays behind closed doors, Arsenal’s manager turned his nose up at the opportunity and released him. Now Toure is making a rather substantial living plowing through midfield’s across the country for league leaders Manchester City, whilst Arsenal have the slightly less intimidating Tomas Rosicky meandering around the middle of the park.
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