Raheem Sterling spent last summer at Harlequins and has hired his own nutritionist.
The England star has gone to great lengths to try and put an extra percentage into his performance levels. It is a reflection of his dedication to his career even if the past 18 months have been difficult for him at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea fans booing him after they lost at home to Wolves must have hurt a player who cares deeply about his game and also doing his best for supporters.
It was followed by being on the bench at Aston Villa for the FA Cup tie in midweek which was tough to take for a player only focused on giving his best for club and country.
Sterling’s determination to get back into the England set-up led him to look at various aspects of his fitness and recovery. That is why he went to spend time at Harlequins rugby club to try and gain some insight into their training methods and also, particularly, the recovery methods. He did the same with Camberley Judo Club, too.
The 29-year-old also hired his own nutritionist through the club to give him an extra edge as he looked at how he fuels his body. Clearly, Chelsea have been suffering as the club is used to winning trophies and being among the Premier League elite is struggling to live up to those standards.
But even though Sterling’s stats have not been as prolific as in the past, his performances have made him one of the better performers this season.
Sterling has been a positive influence on some of the younger players – Cole Palmer has paid tribute to his help – and has almost given up penalty duties to let Palmer take over. His stats might look very different if he was still on penalty duty.
But it is hard to work out why Chelsea fans have sometimes singled out Sterling when he has been working so hard in training, trying to improve himself and his own game.
Paul Dennis/TGS Photo/REX/Shutterstock)
He was instrumental in Manchester City’s success and has won 12 major trophies and maybe that sets high expectations which have been hard to reach at Chelsea.
However, it will never be for the lack of trying. The unseen side is also working with the younger players, he was a good influence in the dressing room at City and has brought that with him to Chelsea as well as being someone Mauricio Pochettino can bounce ideas off.
Sterling cares deeply and that is perhaps the hardest accusation levelled in his direction. His England absence hurts and he will not give up on trying to get back for his country.
He is desperate to help Chelsea enjoy success under the Todd Boehly and Pochettino era at Stamford Bridge. But negativity and booing will not help. Any player wants to feel appreciated by the fans and he has never stopped working to try and produce performances and success for them.
His foundation has been important to him, the chance to help young people and he is a likeable, engaging character who is different to a few false perceptions.
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He is also not an out-and-out striker but Chelsea’s striker options have left him with a bigger burden, but more than anything else, he is a player who is desperate to win at all costs.
Sterling has proved people wrong in the past when he was written off by England fans but then was arguably the most important player at the last Euros.
He is a character who will always have that determination to win, to prove people wrong and, ultimately, drive success because his ambitions burn as bright as ever.
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