Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has told Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge to stop making excuses and resurrect his career.
The striker has suffered a barren spell this January and played poorly, although his team-mates haven’t been much better in what’s been an awful month for the club – winning just one in eight so far.
Sturridge scored against Sunderland on January 2nd but hasn’t found the back of the net since, criticised for coming short for the ball instead of offering a genuine running option in behind.
“Stop making excuses – just go and do it,” Ferdinand told the Sunday Telegraph (cited in the Metro) when asked about how our Englishman can turn it round.
“He’ll stand there, as he did a few days ago, and say his goal ratio is great, but teams need players they can rely on every week.
“I look at him, sitting there as Liverpool’s third-choice striker, not even coming on as substitute half the time, and his abilities are so much greater than that.
“This is his moment, his time to grab it.
“Top players don’t want to tell you about their stats. I hate it. Don’t talk, I don’t care. Just go and do it. ‘My goal ratio is…’
“I’m afraid talk can sound like weakness, like you’re making excuses. The top forwards I played with — [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Wayne] Rooney, [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy — just spoke in performances and goals.”
Sadly, it’s not as easy for Sturridge as Ferdinand suggests. Our attacker isn’t lazy as is the common misconception, but a series of injuries have meant he’s lost his legs, or at least his confidence in them, so is struggling to play the same style which previously made him so brilliant.
As a result, he’s trying to adapt to still be effective, but it’s left fans and pundits questioning why we’re not seeing the same movement and dynamism as 2013/14, for example.
Interestingly, Ferdinand says Sturridge should learn from Chelsea’s Pedro, with the Spaniard poor early on in England – only to now be a crucial part of Antonio Conte’s side.
“Pedro’s a winner. He was integral to Barcelona’s great team; the first person to trigger their press in forward areas,” Ferdinand added. “He was a nightmare to play against.
“The way he has stood up to be counted at Chelsea is what Liverpool need not just from Sturridge but several other players in Mane’s absence.”