Chelsea Must Give Daniel Sturridge a Centre Forward's Role

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Daniel Sturridge of Great Britain celebrates scoring a goal during the Men's Football first round Group A Match between Great Britain and United Arab Emirates on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on July 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

It's been a hectic few weeks for Daniel Sturridge.

At the beginning of July, the Chelsea forward was diagnosed with meningitis, an illness that looked likely to rule him out of Team GB's Olympic campaign (via The Daily Mirror).

Just four weeks later, Sturridge has scored two vital goals and is awaiting a quarterfinal clash against South Korea.

He's had an incredible turnaround.

In Team GB's first match, it's fair to say Sturridge looked unfit. After such a serious illness, that was to be expected. Since then, his performances have improved, and so too his chances of starring for Chelsea next season.

With the departure of Didier Drogba, the 22-year-old now has an important part to play in his club's success.

He netted 11 goals from 28 starts and two substitute appearances in the Premier League last season, and also scored a single goal in both of the domestic cups.

This is a decent return for Sturridge, who spent most of the season on the wing.

In a recent interview , the England international indicated he wishes to return to a central role. Speaking to talkSPORT, Sturridge said:

"I've been waiting for the opportunity as a striker since I joined Chelsea and hopefully this season will be the one where I can show what I can do there. Hopefully the manager will give me a chance."

Fernando Torres will undoubtedly start the season as the lead striker, but Sturridge should also be considered for the role.

The signings of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin indicate the Stamford Bridge side have enough cover for each wing position, especially if you consider Juan Mata and Florent Malouda are still at the club.

Sturridge's skill and ability to do things a little differently make him the perfect candidate for a central role.

He starred for Bolton in this position, scoring eight goals in 11 starts during the 2010-11 season.

Chelsea's added firepower will create a host of chances, and as Team GB fans are finding out, Sturridge has the composure to finish smartly.

Right now, it's fair to say he isn't the complete package. Often, Sturridge overplays, and fails to execute the simple tasks effectively. The same can be said of Romelu Lukaku, who's immediate future appears to be away from the London club.

It could also be argued he doesn't have the physical presence to be a successful centre forward, but this is overcome in other areas.

The difference is, Sturridge is already a proven goalscorer at Premier League level.

If Roberto Di Matteo gives him a chance, Sturridge has the talent to repay Chelsea, much like he's currently repaying Stuart Pearce.