Do a Google search for ‘Daniel Sturridge Bad Attitude’ and you’ll find over 13,000 search results. Ever since Sturridge signed with Manchester City as a reserve he somehow was labeled as having a poor attitude.
In 2009 Sturridge left City after some reportedly very high wage demands. At the time the young striker had made just 3 league starts and was demanding wages making him the highest paid teen in the Premier League.
Such lofty wage demands may seem unreasonable on the surface, but Sturridge had just led City to the FA Youth Cup Final while scoring in the first leg and leading all scorers in the competition. Sturridge is still the only player to score in the FA Youth Cup, FA Cup, and Premier League in the same season. Despite his promise and goal production when used, his appearances remained limited.
Was Sturridge thinking too highly of himself at City or did he simply want out?
A move to Chelsea was arranged the following summer after a disputed transfer process between the two clubs. A small fee was agreed upon and further payments to City would be based on first team appearances. With a reported £500k paid to City for every 10 appearances, could Sturridge’s struggles for first team action have financial roots?
The following season Sturridge struggled for first team appearances behind Didier Drogba who started the season off in with unstoppable form. Despite scoring 4 goals in 7 non-Premier League games, he couldn’t get a league start and change was on the way. January 2011 saw the arrival of Fernando Torres in a record breaking deal and the departure of Sturridge to Bolton on loan for the remainder of the season.
Most casual fans will probably mark the Bolton loan spell as the moment Sturridge really burst on to the scene. Despite playing for much weaker side Sturridge was able to net 8 goals in 12 appearances. I recall being absolutely stunned Chelsea has just spent £50m for Torres while loaning out such a talent. Disregarding sub appearances for Chelsea, the striker had a fine record of 12 goals in 20 appearances all season.
Questions of attitude and commitment persisted about a player that seemingly did nothing but score goals. Daniel chased down balls, ran himself into the ground, and finished in a clinical manner. The goal celebrations were positive and uplifting, and his teammates appeared to enjoy his presence.