The Dujon Sterling hype train pulled back into town briefly last summer, after a meandering journey through various injuries and career-threatening setbacks the previous couple years, before departing towards Blackpool at the end of August. But it’s coming ‘round the bend once again, so get your tickets ready!
Unsurprisingly, the 22-year-old found plenty of success with the Tangerines under former Liverpool youth boss Neil Critchley, playing a key role in ensuring a midtable finish in the Championship for the newly promoted side. Unfortunately, he’s missed most of the last month with an ankle injury, though it sounds like he may yet play for them before the end of the season before returning to Cobham once again.
Either way, as per Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella, Sterling “has been told” to get ready for a pre-season chance to earn a first-team spot. The former Academy standout, who’s already made two senior appearances as a 17-year-old (during the Conte years), is nominally a right (wing-)back, but is also comfortable on the left or even in a back-three. That sort of versatility and quality would be more than welcome given our general situation at wing-back, where we’ve had to use creative solutions all season — with central midfielders Saúl or Ruben Loftus-Cheek and wingers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic often needing to deputize.
Sterling recently talked about looking to his Academy classmates and friends like Hudson-Odoi or Trevoh Chalobah as inspiration for making the Chelsea first-team — “that motivates me; it shows me that if they can do it, I can do it” — and he just might be next to punch his ticket.