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Glory's Sturridge stunt was always going to end in failure

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25th April, 2022

As Daniel Sturridge sat atop Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League-winning bus parade, neither he nor anyone else would have envisaged his decline.

At the time he was 28 and should have been approaching or already been in his prime. But his fall had already started then, and Sturridge left Liverpool in 2019 to spend a season with Turkish side Trabzonspor, scoring five goals in 11 games.

Then he came to Perth.

His signing was announced on 1 October 2021 and described as a “tremendous coup” for the A-League. Here was a Champions League and Premier League winner who had proved himself on the biggest stages arriving in a league struggling for eyeballs and attention. Could Sturridge be the poster boy for a new, stronger A-League while improving his own form?

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With the benefit of hindsight, the answer was also going to be no. Sturridge was out of form, out of confidence and hit by injury. He had eight injuries in the 2019-20 season (according to Transfermarkt). His current groin injury alone has ruled him out for 61 days, and he has missed 16 games as a result. The last time he played in the majority of league games in a season was 2016-17, and the last time he played 90 minutes in a league game was 4 July 2019. The obvious pattern in these stats is that they all are, in footballing terms, a long time ago.

There are quite a few cases of players who, in an attempt to save their reputations, dropped down the league system or went to a different country. Jack Wilshere went from being one of the most highly rated English midfielders to recently joining AGF in the Danish Superliga. Anderson went from Manchester United to the Turkish second division in three years. There are of course many big-name players who move to countries like USA or China for one last big pay cheque. Lorenzo Insigne, Javier Hernández, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (or so we thought) and Wayne Rooney are all culprits of this.


Sturridge surely falls into the first of these two categories. Out of favour in England, he went to Turkey and, as mentioned before, suffered eight injuries in one season. Don’t get me wrong, the man I remember having his stupid celebration going viral in 2016 – in England at least – would’ve been convinced to come Down Under with a hefty wage, and it is safe to say it has not worked out for him. It’ through little fault of his own, I should add, but the only time Sturridge has been in the headlines this year is when he found his missing dog.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of Perth Glory. It was a big risk to give $375,000 to a player who had not tasted success or form for years. Ultimately, as chief executive Tony Pignata has admitted, the gamble did not work out for player or club.

It is highly likely Sturridge will leave at the end of the season and will continue searching for another club, where he will try to reignite his form, but time is running out for the Glory striker.