World Cup 2022: ‘He looks a little lost’ – should England stick with Raheem Sterling?

MOTD2 تحليل Analysis

We’ve been here before: on the eve of a major tournament, debate raged over whether Raheem Sterling deserved his place in the England squad.

While his record at international level and in major finals remains impressive, his club’s level with Chelsea doesn’t make much of an argument for his inclusion in the World Cup just two weeks away.

Sterling has scored twice in the Champions League since the start of September, but after failing a shot during Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal, he has now gone 596 minutes without a goal or assist in the Premier League, a streak dating back to the end of August. .

Raheem Sterling scores against Dinamo Zagreb
Sterling scored a goal against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. He has a total of three goals and two assists for Chelsea in 18 matches in the Premier League and Champions League this season

It’s hard because he didn’t have a consistent role either. Whether he’s full-back, winger or striker, Blues boss Graham Potter appears unsure how to get the best of the 27-year-old, or even his best position.

“I still value Raheem highly but he looks a bit lost,” said former England defender Micah Richards, who watched Sterling against Arsenal in the MOTD2 tournament.

“It looks like he’s a bit frustrated in terms of Chelsea’s setup and, tactically speaking, he doesn’t know what they want him to do.”

Big move – then a new manager

Thomas Tuchel and Rahim Sterling
“We’ve signed on to our top priority,” Tuchel said after Chelsea struck a deal to buy sterling. sacked after 54 days

Getting lost on his way wasn’t the scenario Sterling envisioned when he outlined his £50m move from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge in July.

Sterling has been tracked by Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but seems to like it Seeing then-manager Thomas Tuchel, As well as the role assigned to him in his team.

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Less than two months later, Tuchel was history. Potter is now planning for Chelsea’s future, but his frequent tweaks in formation and tactics suggest he is unsure how to best use many of his new team members, including Sterling.

“Raheem joined another big club at Chelsea and it seemed like the perfect move for him,” Richards added. “But then they changed their manager and we all saw the upheaval that followed.

“After a manager signs you up and says you’re their best person, as Tuchel did with Sterling, it must be frustrating when a new manager comes along and wants to use you differently.

“Every player just wants to have some stability. I think he’s in good hands with Potter – let’s make that clear – but it’s up to him to get the best of sterling now.”

“Get Sterling on the ball near the goal”

Graphic showing Chelsea's starting lineup against Arsenal: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Xaluba, Thiago Silva, Cucurella, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Sterling, Havertz, Mount, Havertz, Aubameyang
Sterling played on the right wing against Arsenal, but only managed two touches inside the Arsenal area

Sterling scored 131 goals in 339 appearances for City, and his trademark finish finished off a sweeping pass at the back post.

He’s been a lot less productive since joining Chelsea – probably because he’s had far fewer chances in front of goal.

Man City 2021-22 Chelsea 2022-23
40.1 1 minute per shot 56.5
49% in target% 39%
22.8% % conversions 16.7%
175.9 1 minute per goal 339

“The reason he was so effective at City was because he was part of a system that worked,” Richards explained. “He knew the system, and he installed it because the courses he did were exactly what the team needed.

“City also played the same way, controlling the ball 70-80% every week, but now he’s in a team in transition after changing managers, and he seems to change his squad all the time.

“The whole team is still figuring out how to play under Potter so Sterling isn’t the only one who has to work on that.

“Using him in different positions hasn’t helped. Ideally, I want to see him high and wide on the field, preferably on the left so he can go in any direction – in or out – when he’s running into the penalty area.

“But whatever you call his turn, you want him on the ball near the goal, not in his half. He has to run 60 or 70 yards to have a shot at a shot.

“For City, he would always catch the ball inside the opponent’s half. When he was shooting in the area, he knew the ball was coming because of the players they had in their team to provide it for him.

“That’s not the case with Chelsea – he has to create things himself.”

Does it start against Iran?

Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal for England against Croatia at Euro 2020
Sterling scored three goals at Euro 2020, against Croatia, the Czech Republic and Germany, two of those goals being the winner, with England reaching the final.

Sterling also had a tough time ahead of last year’s European Championship, when his goals for City dried up and he found himself on the bench for their biggest game.

However, Southgate remained loyal, and Sterling fired back by scoring three goals to help England reach the final, earning himself a place in the Team of the Tournament as well.

Will the Three Lions coach do the same this time, when he chooses his team to face Iran in their opening match in Qatar on November 21?

“You want your players to be in good shape of course, but I think Gareth will be on his side this time as well, and I can understand why after what he’s done for him in the past,” Richards said.

“All season, he hasn’t been playing great, but at least he’s playing a lot, and that’s what he wanted when he left City.

“I’ll start it against Iran as well, as part of a three-forward with Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane. He deserves that faith, after what he’s done for England in the past.

“Let’s see how he does in the first game, and evaluate after that. If he doesn’t do anything, it might be time to take turns.

“But we’ve seen before how Raheem responded after he was left out of play in England, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him remind everyone how great he is.”

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