The 31-year-old, who scored 50 goals in 116 appearances in a six-year spell at Anfield, left Merseyside in 2019 to link up with Turkish club Trabzonspor on a free transfer. His time in Turkey, though, was short-lived as disciplinary action – relating to a breach of betting rules – saw him negotiate a departure from his contract in March 2020.
Sturridge was also slapped with a four-month ban from all footballing activity as a result of the charge. The man himself has always fiercely denied any wrongdoing – and even received FA support for what English football’s governing body called a “misapplication of the rules” to his case. He has been without a club ever since the ruling was made.
During an appearance on the latest edition of The High Performance Podcast, though, Sturridge spoke about the positives that he has been able to take from his time away.
“I’ve had this year off. So, I’ve been able to analyse. I’ve been able to look back. I’ve been able to watch games, feel things that I’ve not felt when I’m playing because when you’re playing, I was consumed by football. Everything. Lived it, breathed it. Everything,” he acknowledged.
“Everything was centred around football. All my conversations that I had with people. My family, because they’re a footballing family, everyone is obsessed with football. We’d be meeting up for a domino night and we’re talking about footy.”
Sturridge’s admission over his previous obsession with the game is perhaps unsurprising, given that he played at the highest levels of the sport for so long. Capped 26 times for his country, Sturridge’s form during the 2013/14 season for Liverpool saw him rank as one of the deadliest finishers in the world. Notching an impressive 24 goals in 33 appearances over the course of the campaign, the future looked bright for Sturridge.
However, when his strike partner at the time, Luis Suarez, departed for Barcelona that summer, things began to fall away for Sturridge. Some dreadful luck where injuries were concerned meant that he missed much of the following season – and similar setbacks would continue to blight him throughout the remainder of his Liverpool career.
Today, though, Sturridge is far more easy-going when it comes to his attitude towards the game, telling the HPP:
“Sometimes, it’s like the saying goes: put the ball away. Yes, you can savour things but sometimes put the ball away and let your mind just, you know, relax.”
However, Sturridge still believes he has plenty of football left in him before he calls time on his career – and is confident that he will still be able to channel his same intense focus for a new club when the time is right.
“That obsession and that relentlessness, I have that and I know that when I’m back playing, it’s going to come back.
“But because I’ve had this year off, now I know that I can manage my mindset better in that: ‘you know what? I’ve scored. Savour the moment today. Enjoy the moment today and then we’ll continue going this week,” concluded Sturridge.
While he may never recapture the blistering form he showed under Brendan Rodgers all those years ago, Sturridge still clearly has a massive desire to compete. Wherever he winds up next, he seems determined to make the biggest impact possible – all while remembering to enjoy his football.