Ed note: Not sure I'm sold (or that I was ever meant to be sold), but a fun comparison and food for thought.
In the comments of Graham's earlier thread about Danny's slump in form, MrkS made a comment drawing a parallel between the complaints levelled at Sturridge and similar grievances voiced by United fans about a certain Mr Ronaldo early in his career, before going on to say that if CR7 could work through these difficulties then it's not unreasonable to think that our Danny can too. Indianbluefan (sorry to pick on you) then levelled the criticism that "danny boy cant even dream of having a dream in which he is like cr7… no matter how much we want him to be, but cr7 is in a league of his own…"
I may have missed the point completely, but I don't think MrkS intended to suggest that Danny will eventually reach the standard of play that has made Ronaldo one of the best in the world, rather that he could overcome the difficulties that he is currently experiencing and develop into a pretty good player.
This little discussion got me thinking about what Danny has achieved so far and Cristiano's United career; let's take a trip down memory lane and see what develops.
I have taken the liberty of compiling statistics from Danny's Premier League appearances so far and Ronaldo's Premier League appearances for United as shown in the tables below:
Apologies for the (lack of) quality of these images; I've not done one of these before and couldn't figure out how to insert tables. With that out of the way, though, I'd like to draw your attention to the actual contents of the tables. The purpose of this post was not to suggest that Danny is anywhere even close to being as good as Ronaldo is now. Nor is it to make the outright claim that he will one day reach that level; in fact, I have been one of Sturridge's biggest detractors until this point. Having read Graham's post this morning and subsequently looked up the numbers, I'm rapidly rethinking my opinion.
Danny's shooting is not anywhere near as accurate as that of CR7. Interestingly, however, it doesn't matter. Danny has averaged more shots per minute than Ronaldo achieved in any of his first 4 seasons in the league. He has also converted a higher percentage of this greater number of shots than Cristiano did over that period as well. I don't have passing numbers for Ronaldo, but Danny's 80% completion rate is pretty good, especially for a player that spends most of his time in and around the opposing penalty area.
Sturridge is 22 years old (the age that Ronaldo turned in the 06/07 season) and as frustrating as he it at times, he's actually offering similar production to that which CR7 was managing at this stage of his career. As Danny gets used to his new position out on the wing, he should only improve, and who knows how high his ceiling is. One thing's for sure, though, he's putting up some damn impressive numbers so far.