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

MOTD2 analysis

We’ve been here before: On the eve of a major tournament, the debate rages over whether Raheem Sterling deserves to be in the England squad.

While his results at international level and in major finals have been impressive, his performances at Chelsea have been of little use in the World Cup two weeks ago.

Sterling has scored twice in the Champions League since the start of September but failed to hit the target in Sunday’s defeat at Arsenal and has now gone 596 minutes without a Premier League goal or assist. .

Raheem Sterling scores against Dinamo Zagreb.
Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. He has three goals and two assists in 18 Premier League and Champions League appearances for Chelsea this season.

It doesn’t help that he hasn’t had a stable role. Full-back, winger or striker, Blues manager Graham Potter doesn’t seem sure how to get the most out of the 27-year-old or even what his best position is.

“I still rate Raheem very highly but he seems a bit lost,” said former England defender Micah Richards, who watched Sterling with the Gunners for MOTD2.

He seems a bit frustrated with Chelsea’s set-up and doesn’t know what they want him to do tactically.

Big move – then a new manager

Thomas Tuchel and Raheem Sterling
“We have secured our main priority signing,” Tuchel said after Chelsea completed the Sterling deal. He was fired after 54 days

Sterling will transfer 50 million from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge in July.

Sterling has been surprised by the likes of Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The vision of then manager Thomas Tuchel And also the role he outlined for him in the group.

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Less than two months later, however, Tuchel was history. Potter is now plotting Chelsea’s future, but his frequent changes in play and play suggest he is unsure of the best way to use many members of his new squad, including Sterling.

“Rahim joined another top club in Chelsea and it seemed like the perfect move for him,” added Richards. But they changed their manager and we all saw the chaos that followed.

“After a manager has signed you and said you are the main man, it must be frustrating when a new manager comes in and wants to use you differently, like Tuchel Sterling did.

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

Sterling tackles the ball near the goal.

Chelsea starting XI vs Arsenal graphic: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Cucurella, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Sterling, Havertz, Mount, Havertz, Aubameyang
Sterling played on the right wing against Arsenal but managed just two touches in the Gunners’ area.

Sterling has scored 131 goals in 339 games for City, and his trademark finish was a stunning pass at the back post.

Since joining Chelsea, his performance has been much lower – perhaps because he is getting too many opportunities in front of goal.

Man City 2021-22 Chelsea 2022-23
40.1 Minutes per stroke 56.5
49% % on target 39%
22.8% conversion % 16.7%
175.9 minutes per goal 339

“The reason he was so effective at CT was because he was part of the system he was working in,” Richards explained. “He knew the system, and he fixed it because the runs he made were exactly what the team needed.

City played the same way and had 70-80% possession every week but now they have changed managers and are in transition and a team that looks to be changing shape.

“The whole team is still figuring out how to play under Potter, so it’s not just Sterling who has to do that.

“It didn’t help that he was used in different positions. Ideally I’d like to see him get higher and spread the field, especially on the left-hand side when he’s running into the box – either inside or outside.

But whatever you call his role, you want him on the ball next door, not running 60 or 70 yards to get a shot in his own half.

“For City, he always picked the ball in the opposition half. When he ran into the area, he knew the ball was coming because of the players in his team.

“It’s not about playing for Chelsea – he has to create things himself.”

Should it start with Iran?

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring England's goal against Croatia at Euro 2020
Sterling scored three goals at Euro 2020 against Croatia, the Czech Republic and Germany, two of which were winners as England reached the final.

Sterling also had a difficult time before last year’s European Championship, where his goals for City dried up and he sat out their big games.

Southgate remained loyal, but Sterling paid off with three goals as England reached the final and earned a place in the team of the tournament.

Will the Three Lions boss do the same this time when he selects his side to face Iran in Qatar’s opener on November 21?

“Obviously you want your players to be fit, but I think Gareth will stick with it this time, and I can understand why after what he’s done in the past,” Richards said.

He hasn’t been playing well all season, but at least he’s playing a lot, which is what he wanted when he left City.

I’ll start with Iran as a front three with Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane. He deserves this trust after what he has done for England in the past.

“Let’s see how he does in the first game and then evaluate him. If he doesn’t do anything, then maybe it’s time to turn around.

“But we’ve seen before how Raheem basically reacts after coming back to England, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he reminds everyone how good he is.”

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