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Is Sterling a wing-back? Chelsea star reacts to shock positional switch from Potter

5:30 PM GMT+4 16/09/2022
Raheem Sterling Chelsea 2022-23
Graham Potter’s first game as Chelsea boss saw him deploy Raheem Sterling as a wing-back, with the natural forward reacting to a shock decision.
  • England star is a natural forward
  • New boss experimenting
  • No arguments from a team player

WHAT HAPPENED? The Blues opened a new era off the field when facing Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League, as they saw their new manager spring a surprise with his team selection. England international Sterling, who is best known for his work as a winger or central striker, was asked to fill a role on the left that required him to help out at both ends of the field.

WHAT THEY SAID: On being asked to operate as a wing-back, Sterling has said: “I played in a slightly different role under the new manager, and it is one I enjoyed playing, out wide. Over time, I will get better. I am happy to play along the front line, but he wanted me out wide, getting at the full-back, getting in the box and creating chances. The more time under him [Potter], I think the better it will be for us.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sterling did put Chelsea in front against Salzburg, with his fourth goal for the club following a summer transfer from Manchester City, but the Blues were unable to hold on and had to settle for a 1-1 draw on the night.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Potter took an experimental approach on his bow as Chelsea boss despite having the likes of Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella – a left-sided player that he previously worked with at Brighton – available to him.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR STERLING? Chelsea’s game against Liverpool this weekend has been postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, meaning that Sterling’s next minutes could come for England as they prepare to take in UEFA Nations League fixtures with Italy and Germany.