Perth Glory will slowly build up star recruit Daniel Sturridge’s fitness as they settle into their A-League Men stint on the road.
Former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge has promised to leave his ego at the door when he arrives at Perth Glory, declaring he isn’t coming to Australia for a mere holiday.
Sturridge’s one-season deal with Glory represents one of the biggest coups in the history of the A-League Men’s competition.
The 32-year-old former England international is a two-time UEFA Champions League and FA Cup winner who scored 67 goals during a six-year spell at Liverpool and also won a Premier League title with Chelsea.
Sturridge will be the star attraction in every game he plays for Glory.
But rather than focus on individual glory while enjoying the Australian lifestyle, Sturridge is eager to immerse himself in the club’s history and help the team achieve success.
“I’m coming there as a humble man, leaving my ego at the door,” Sturridge said.
“Of course players can make the difference, but in terms of one player carrying a team, I just don’t think in world football that’s possible, because everybody is needed.
“Everyone in the squad is important.
“I’m not there for a holiday. I’m there to play football. I’m there to perform to the best of my abilities.”
Sturridge is currently training in England with a coach, and his exact arrival date in Australia is up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The talented striker hasn’t played a competitive game for the best part of 19 months, but declared he has been training consistently during that period, which included a stint with La Liga side Real Mallorca.
“This is the longest time I’ve had not playing competitive games,” Sturridge said.
“But in terms of training, I’ve been training the whole time. I’ve not let myself go or had time off.
“I haven’t really lost any fitness. In fact I’ve lost weight. I’ve got probably more in shape outside of quarantine.”
Sturridge’s lengthy stint out of the game started in March last year when he copped a four-month worldwide ban for breaching betting rules.
With the COVID-19 reaping havoc around the world once Sturridge’s ban ended, he decided against jumping straight back into a club if it didn’t feel right.
Sturridge said he chose Perth Glory because of a gut feel – and also glowing reviews of the club from Liverpool great Robbie Fowler and former Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones.
The four-month ban crushed Sturridge, but he never lost his love of the game.
“You can never lose the love for the game in my mind,” Sturridge said.
“This is a game I’ve enjoyed and loved playing since I was in my front garden at home as a three, four-year-old kicking a ball around.
“Even when I’m old and grey I’ll probably be trying to play keepy-offs with my grandkids or whatever it might be. This beautiful game will remain with me forever, and this is what I was born to do.
“Being out for that amount of time and watching games, there was an element of me being like, ‘I want to get out there, I want to play’.
“But it was about choosing the right place and making the right decision.”