Richard Keys reckons Raheem Sterling will never play wing-back again for Chelsea following the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion last week.
Writing in his blog, Keys confidently predicted Sterling’s career at wing-back had come to an end in light of the 4-1 loss to Graham Potter’s former side on Saturday.
Potter got it wrong
Potter deployed two natural attackers as his wing-backs at the Amex Stadium, having earned some success in doing so against RB Salzburg in the previous game.
Sterling and Christian Pulisic started out wide again at Brighton as they did in Salzburg, but with opposing levels of joy.
Neither managed to meaningfully impact the match, defensively or offensively.
Pulisic was replaced by Armando Broja with ten minutes to go, whilst his comrade on the opposite flank lasted just over an hour.
Sterling should be playing further forward
Whilst the finger of blame for the damning defeat could be pointed across the Chelsea dressing room, there was a sense of sympathy for Sterling’s role in the performance.
The 27-year-old was brought Stamford Bridge for his attacking prowess, demonstrated so efficiently during his days at Manchester City.
After scoring or assisting six times in his first eight matches for the Blues, this transfer looked to be a golden one.
But a change of manager caused a change of position for the England international, one Keys expected not to be copied in the future.
“They’ve (Chelsea) been getting results, but what happened at the Amex has been coming,” he wrote.
“It’ll be fascinating to see how Potter reacts – and how long it takes now for that dressing room to tire of the tinkering.
“Raheem Sterling at right wing back? I’ll bet we never see that again. But, of course, that wasn’t the only problem. The honeymoon is over.”
With a big London derby against Arsenal looming large on the horizon, Potter would be wise to reinstate Sterling to his usual attacking role.