Mauricio Pochettino gives Raheem Sterling wakeup call as captain decision awaits| SolSportHQ
Catch all the biggest Chelsea headlines, including updates on the Blues’ next captain, Raheem Sterling and the futures of several want-away stars
Your Chelsea morning headlines on Monday, July 10.
Mauricio Pochettino faces his biggest decision as Chelsea head coach so far when he chooses the club’s new captain. Cesar Azpilicueta has now joined Atletico Madrid, meaning the captain’s armband is now vacant.
With Mateo Kovacic, who would have been perhaps the leading candidate for the armband, also leaving to join Manchester City, a big decision awaits the Argentine. There are a couple of obvious candidates in Thiago Silva and Reece James. Silva, who has worn the armband on multiple occasions for the Blues, leads by example with how he performs on and off the pitch.
Apart from those two, there aren’t too many, what you would call, obvious candidates for the armband. Kepa Arrizabalaga has a wealth of experience, but considering there is uncertainty over his future at the club, it perhaps would not be the wisest move. Then you have the vastly experienced Raheem Sterling, but the 28-year-old has only been at the club 12 months.
Pochettino, believes there are reasons Sterling and others did not hit the ground running and that reducing the size of the squad will play a key role in the winger finding his place at Chelsea. Sterling will need to, standing out as a veteran in comparison to the youthful structure that has been put in place in the last year.
The Blues boss also expects his charge to take responsibility to improve too. He said: “We are talking about a really good player, but sometimes it’s not easy for a player to adapt quickly and show the same performance that he maybe had at the other club.
“We need to reduce the number of people in the squad because it was so big. People need to find their space in the training ground, then in training, then in the team. We can’t just blame the players. We need to see what is going on and why they are not performing in the way we expect.”
Chelsea are one week into pre-season training and another week away from flying out to the United States for their five-match tour of the country. Wrexham, Fulham, Brighton, Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund await for Mauricio Pochettino’s first games in charge of the Blues.
However, there will be opportunity as Pochettino plans to talk to Romelu Lukaku, who is currently expected to join the squad in the coming week if there are no transfer developments. Noni Madueke and Levi Colwill, who have just lifted the under-21 European Championship trophy, have already heard from the Blues’ boss but will have some time off before joining the squad.