“I will point a finger there is nothing to hide” – Mario Melchiot tells £50m Chelsea player to start acting like a leader
Chelsea’s recent transfer windows have witnessed a deliberate effort to rejuvenate the squad by significantly reducing the average age. Amidst this transformation, 29-year-old Raheem Sterling emerges as one of the few seasoned players with real experience, prompting former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot to scrutinize Sterling’s potential leadership role.
Speaking on The Football News Show, Melchiot acknowledges Sterling’s status as one of the more senior figures in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad. However, he questions whether Sterling possesses the innate qualities to assume a leadership role within the team. Despite being a key player for Pochettino throughout the season, Sterling was notably dropped for Chelsea’s 3-1 triumph against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
Melchiot directs attention to Sterling’s age, asserting that at 29, he falls into the category of players expected to carry the team during challenging times. Yet, the former Chelsea defender expresses reservations about Sterling’s suitability for such a pivotal role.
In Melchiot’s words, “I will point a finger at Sterling, for example, 29 years old, that means that you’re in the category of carrying the team when they’re in difficulties. Is he a player like that? I’m not so sure about it.” He emphasizes that leadership extends beyond the captain’s armband, contending that every player on the field should exhibit leadership qualities.
As the oldest player in Pochettino’s squad after Thiago Silva and Marcus Bettinelli, Sterling, with his wealth of experience and proven track record as a forward, is positioned to be a beacon of leadership for Chelsea. The expectation is for him to deliver match-winning contributions and provide guidance to the younger members of the team.
Despite the substantial £50 million price tag associated with his acquisition from Manchester City, Sterling’s goal-scoring output in the Premier League has experienced a dry spell since November. Pochettino, Melchiot suggests, should demand more from Sterling, urging him to live up to his potential and play a pivotal role in Chelsea’s continued success.