Chelsea starlet Daniel Sturridge gave Andre Villas-Boas a timely reminder of his talents with a brace in the 3-1 pre-season friendly victory over Rangers.
The England Under 21 international enjoyed a successful loan spell with Bolton Wanderers last season, but has returned to Stamford Bridge with designs on earning a place in the Blues’ first team.
A red card in the final game of last term for the Trotters means Sturridge will be unavailable for the first three games of the new campaign though, and the youngster hopes to impress at every chance he gets, even when ill, as was the case at Ibrox over the weekend.
"I am just going to train very hard and once the ban ends, I hope I will be in the manager's plans," Sturridge told the official Chelsea website. "I didn't feel very sharp at all. I felt a bit funny, a bit weak, a bit ill.
"It has been a difficult pre-season because after finishing playing in the European Under 21 Championships I didn't have much holiday before coming back in, but the manager has involved me a lot which I have been very happy with."
The Blues came from behind to beat the SPL champions on Saturday, with Sturridge and Florent Malouda making the difference in Glasgow.
Whilst the Blues were unhappy to have fallen behind to the Gers, Sturridge believes the victory showed the strength of character instilled by Villas-Boas in west London.
"The team can look at it and say we won't do that again. The character of the players showed and this was one of those days when we can get it out the way now instead of conceding in the season," the forward concluded.
"Chelsea is a very organised team and the way the players perform in training is very high."
Despite having Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba in the ranks, Villas-Boas confirmed the 21-year-old is his plans for the coming campaign.
After featuring heavily during the tour of Asia and in other friendlies, Villas-Boas believes the striker has shown he's up for the senior challenge with the Blues.
“Daniel has played a big part in this pre-season for us, but this doesn’t come as a surprise to us as it’s what we knew he was doing at Bolton,” said the manager.
“This chance to stake his claim this season is because he deserves it. He has been showing his qualities for the club and we will definitely count on him for this season and in a different perspective than we may have done before.”
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