MOTD2 analysis

On the eve of a major tournament, there was a debate over whether or not the England team deserved a place for the player.

His club form is not making much of a case for his inclusion with the World Cup only two weeks away.

Since the start of September, he has scored two times in Europe, but he has not found the back of the net in the league since August.

Raheem Sterling scores against Dinamo Zagreb
Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. He has a total of three goals and two assists for Chelsea in 18 games in the Premier League and Champions League this season

He hasn't had a settled role. Blues manager Graham Potter doesn't know how to get the best out of the 27-year-old or what his best position is.

"I still rate him very highly, but he looks a little lost," said Richards, who was in attendance at the game.

He doesn't know what they want him to do because he is frustrated with the set-up of the club.

A big move - then a new manager

Thomas Tuchel and Raheem Sterling
Tuchel said "we have got our top priority signed" after Chelsea sealed a deal for Sterling. He was sacked 54 days later

When he decided to leave Manchester City to join the Blues, he didn't think he'd lose his way.

After being tracked by several teams, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, and being impressed by the vision of then-manager Thomas Tuchel and the role he outlined for him in his team, he decided to sign with the club.

Tuchel was history less than a month later. Potter's frequent changes in formation and tactics suggest he is unsure of how to use many of his new players.

It seemed like the perfect move for him to join another top club. They changed their manager and that's when the upheaval began.

When a new manager comes in and wants to use you differently, it must be frustrating.

Everyone wants to have some stability. I think he is in good hands with Potter, but it is up to him to get the best out of sterling now.

'Get Sterling on the ball near the goal'

Graphic showing Chelsea's starting XI v Arsenal: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Cucurella, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Sterling, Havertz, Mount, Havertz, Aubameyang
Sterling played on the right wing against Arsenal, but managed only two touches inside the Gunners area

His trademark finish saw him arrive to finish a sweeping passing move at the back post as he scored 131 goals for City.

He is getting less chances in front of the goal since he joined.

Man City 2021-22Chelsea 2022-23
40.1Mins per shot56.5
49%On target %39%
22.8%Conversion %16.7%
175.9Mins per goal339

He was part of a system that worked and that's why he was so effective. He fitted the system because of the runs he made.

He is in a team who are in transition after changing managers, and seem to change formation all the time.

The whole team is still figuring out how to play under Potter, so there are other people who need to work that out.

He's been used in different positions. When he runs into the box, I want to see him high up the pitch so he can either go inside or out.

"But whatever you call his role, you want him on the ball near goal, not in his own half."

He picked the ball up inside the opposition half for City. He knew the ball was going to come when he ran into the area.

He has to create things of his own.

Should he start against Iran?

Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal for England against Croatia at Euro 2020
Sterling scored three goals at Euro 2020, against Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany, with two of those goals proving to be the winner, as England reached the final

When his goals dried up for City, he was benched for their biggest games at the European Championships.

After scoring three goals to help England reach the final and earn himself a place in the team of the tournament, he was rewarded by being named to the team of the tournament as well.

Will the Three Lions boss do the same thing when he picks his side to play Iran in the first game of their tour of the Middle East?

"You want your players to be in form, of course, but I think it's important that they stick with him, and I can understand why after what he did for him in the past," Richards said.

He is playing a lot, which is what he wanted when he left City, even though he has not been playing well.

I would start him against Iran with Harry Kane. He has done good things for England in the past.

Let's see how he does in the first game and see what happens after that. If he doesn't do anything, then it's time to change.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him remind everyone how good he is after being written off for England.

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