It’s fair to say that 2011 hasn’t been very kind to Chelsea’s supposed striker Fernando Torres. Ever since making the move to Stamford Bridge in an astonishing £50 million move from Liverpool in January his career has been on a steady decline.
Concerns over his fitness and a series of laboured and lacklustre performances have seen fans and pundits alike to question whether the Spaniard has what it takes to cope with the cut and thrust of the Premier League. On the flip side of things teammate Daniel Sturridge has seen his career reach new heights this year with a loan spell at Bolton last season seeing the Englishman unexpectedly flourish.
The 22-year-old has carried his form over from the Reebok Stadium into the current campaign and he’s played in a vast majority of Chelsea‘s games this season impressing enough to earn full England honours in their recent friendlies. His emergence as a key member of the Blues’ striking trio has been a breath of fresh air in West London and the youngster has ambitions to become the clubs new goal hero. It was reported in the press during the week that Sturridge has told boss Andre Villas-Boas that he wants to become Chelsea’s central figure up front at the expense of Torres. The question is does he deserve the chance to usurp the World Cup winner as the club’s attacking spearhead?
Watching both strikers during the course of this year has proved fascinating viewing with Torres‘ career moving in the opposite direction to that of the exciting Sturridge. Observing the formers fall from grace in the last 11 months has been distressing to say the least considering it was just three short years ago that scored the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final against Germany. It was a goal that encompassed everything that was great about Torres at the time with his pace, power and composure all on display.
Sadly all those attributes that made him such a feared frontman have diminished and he now looks a shadow of the player he once was. Sturridge, on the other hand, has prospered this year after his temporary stay at Bolton during the second half of the previous campaign. It’s ironic that the former Manchester City man was farmed out on loan due to Torres’ arrival in West London only to return six months later with eight goals in 11 games under his belt whilst his counterpart managed only one in 18 games. The striker has been tipped for greatness every since coming through the youth system at the Etihad Stadium but has never experienced a consistent run of first team football. His short spell playing for Owen Coyle’s side gave the striker the opportunity to play on a regular basis and he grasped it with tightly.
One of the key aspects of Sturridge’s meteoric rise to prominence in the last year is confidence, which is something Torres has lacked ever since returning from the World Cup. Pundits chalked his goalless campaign for the Spanish down to a lack of fitness after a knee injury but in truth he hasn’t been the same player since returning from South Africa. He was poor for Liverpool in the first half of last season and following his stunning transfer his form stooped to new lows taking 13 games to break his duck in a blue shirt. It’s continued into the current campaign scoring just four goals in 12 games and paling in comparison to his younger striking partner. His touch, strength and mobility have deserted him and It’s painful to watch him at times. Unfortunately for him it’s Sturridge now displaying those qualities despite being deployed in an unfamiliar right wing role to accommodate El Nino allowing him to play as the central striker. The 27-year-old now has his younger and arguably more exciting teammate breathing down his neck as he fights to hold onto his position as Chelsea’s attacking poster boy.
Frankly if we’re going by statistics they both hold similar goalscoring records this season with Sturridge managing five goals in 11 games but if we factor their performances into the equation then there is cause to believe that the young striker deserves a chance to perform in his natural position. He is the type of player that Torres used to be with supporters rising to their feet and holding their breath in anticipation whenever the ball finds his feet.
When in possession he looks capable of scoring goals but it’s his enthusiasm and determination to succeed that makes him so endearing. His displays for Chelsea this season have been superb and have earned rightly him a swift call-up to the England squad with many tipping him to replace the suspended Wayne Rooney in Fabio Capello’s squad for Euro 2012. For that to happen he’ll need to start playing in his central striking role and it’s only right she should be given a chance to shine there should Torres continue to falter – a decision that rests in the lap of manager Villas-Boas
Courtesy of ShedEnder.com