Raheem Sterling driven to Chelsea switch by fears of wasting his peak years

England forward admits his frustration at limited game time with Manchester City

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Raheem Sterling has revealed his move to Chelsea was motivated by growing frustrating at his limited playing time at Manchester City.

Sterling won four Premier League titles over the past five seasons at City, among 10 major trophies during his time in Manchester.

But the England international's game time had been more limited over the past two seasons due to the emergence of Phil Foden and City's £100 million ($122m) purchase of Jack Grealish.

"I just felt my time at City was getting limited on playing time for different reasons," Sterling said at his Chelsea unveiling on Thursday.

"I couldn't afford to waste that time. So I needed to keep that same level and a fresh challenge.

"It's something that since 17 I'd been a regular starter, so to get to a peak time in my career, not to play regularly is something I wouldn't accept."

Sterling scored 131 goals in 337 appearances for City during seven years at the club.

And it is his goalscoring threat that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is looking to make the most of as the Blues look set to play without a natural striker this season.

"He [Tuchel] said to me it's my directness, always threatening in behind, not always wanting it in to feet and going in behind," added Sterling on what the German coach wants.

"But most importantly it's how I attack the box, and with the full-backs that we have here he said that's the one thing he wants to see a lot more.

“I’m excited, I’ve grown up a bit off the field. I feel like my whole journey, going up to Liverpool, Manchester, playing at City, and living the dream – now I’m coming back to London as a grown adult.

“I’ve been in the football game a while now, I’ve got my head on my shoulders and I know exactly what I want from my life and football.

“So it’s the perfect time to come back.

“Inside the changing room and at the football club, there’s a developing side of me which I’d like to see a lot more, and that’s to be more involved in decisions in the dressing room, to be more vocal, and try to drive the team on."

Chelsea banned one fan for life and handed out five more temporary suspensions after Sterling suffered racist abuse at Stamford Bridge playing for City in 2019.

However, he said that incident had no impact on his decision on whether to join the club. "That's the first time I've actually even remembered it," he said when asked about the incident.

"It wasn't anything that played on my mind at all. I can't let abuse from individuals affect my perception of a club."

Sterling will make his home debut at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea host Tottenham in a highly-anticipated London derby after both sides got their Premier League seasons off to a winning start last weekend.

Updated: August 11, 2022, 4:49 PM
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