Raheem Sterling has revealed his desire not to ‘waste my time’ was the deciding factor in his move from Manchester City to Chelsea.
The England forward moved to Stamford Bridge in a deal worth £50million after spending seven years with the Premier League champions.
The 27-year-old scored 31 goals in 337 appearances as a City player, but found his influence diminishing in recent seasons as he dropped down the pecking order in Pep Guardiola’s plans and rotated in and out of the team.
With the World Cup coming up this winter, Sterling took the decision to leave the Etihad Stadium in order to play more regular first team football.
That’s something he is hoping to do at a club that he believes is going places, with Sterling revealing he desire to be a leader of a team.
Discussing his Man City exit, Sterling explained in a Chelsea press conference on Thursday: “I felt my game time at City was getting limited for different reasons and I couldn’t afford to waste more time.
“When I look back in the future, I never wanted to look back and see a rise then a decline. So my feeling was I needed to keep at the same level and a fresh challenge was needed.
“Since I was 17, I’ve been a regular starter and to get to the peak time in my career, not to be playing regularly was something I wouldn’t accept.
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“My personality is to try to fight and change the scenario but it didn’t come and that was it. With the few other options I had, this one was more tailor-made for my personal goals.
“For my family, it makes a lot of sense and with the direction, the club is going in. If you look at Chelsea in the last couple of years, I think it’s four of five finals they’ve been in, it’s a team that is competing and is only going to get better.
“Of course, with the time I spent at City, there were a lot of memories and top moments. But the year and a bit I was out of the team taught me a lot about myself and made me value a lot of things and try to get them in order.
“A lot of things happen for a reason and I kept with that mentality. It was difficult, my kids went to school there and my son is missing his friends. But in life, you have to make decisions that are best for yourself and your family.
“So for me, with the new ownership and takeover, it made a lot of sense. I feel like it’s my full journey. Going up to Liverpool and manifesting what I wanted, going to City and living the dream, and now coming back to London as a grown adult, being in the football game and I feel like I’ve got my head on my shoulders.
“I know exactly what I what from my life and football. So it’s a perfect time to have a new challenge.”
With Tuchel lacking a natural striker right now, Sterling could continue to be used as a number nine, but according to the England star, the most important thing is getting in to areas where he can be influential.
“As you all know, my position is mainly as a winger,” he said, “Some of the time I enjoy floating about and getting on the ball.
“But I always judge myself on how effective I am on the games, so it depends on where I’m going to be most effective at the moment.
“The last game against Everton I played from the false nine position. And again, I’ll be most happy where I can be effective and help my team.”
Asked what Tuchel has asked him to do, Sterling added: “He said he wanted my directness and how I run in behind as well as how I attack the full-backs which is something he wants to see a lot more of.
“Inside the changing room and at the football club, there’s a developing side of me which I’d like to see a lot more, and that’s to be more involved in decisions in the dressing room, to be more vocal, and try to drive the team on.”
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