The absence of Raheem Sterling from Chelsea‘s starting lineup has prompted speculation, with Mauricio Pochettino addressing concerns surrounding the winger's role within the team, reported by GOAL. Let's delve into the details of Sterling's situation, Pochettino's explanation, and what lies ahead for the England international.

Despite his status as an experienced England international, Raheem Sterling has found himself relegated to the bench in recent weeks, with his last Premier League start dating back to March 11. The winger's diminishing role has raised questions about his form and contribution to the team, compounded by instances of jeers from disgruntled supporters in the stands.

Mauricio Pochettino's clarification

Christopher Nkunku and Mauricio Pochettino in front of the Chelsea logo

Addressing concerns over Sterling's absence, Mauricio Pochettino emphasized that selection decisions are based solely on player performance and form, rather than external factors such as fan reactions. The Chelsea coach emphasized the importance of fairness in assessing all players' contributions, citing opportunities given to other talents like Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer. Pochettino reiterated that Sterling's exclusion from the starting lineup is a result of careful evaluation of player form and suitability for the team's tactical setup.

“It's because we assess all the player's performance, and I think we need to be fair, or trying to be fair, and we gave the opportunity to Noni Madueke to play. And to put [Cole] Palmer in another position to find a good balance. You know, we've got to get [someone] on the left, and I think it's because we assess the player's form and then make a decision. It's only for that. Not because of the situation, [that isn’t] going to make me change my mind. And I think the team is not suffering for this. It's only because I analyse the form of the player. And then I need to make decisions. He didn't play in Sheffield because, in the same way we assess the squad, we assess the player, and we assess the player's form. We got some feelings because we see the players training every day. We, in our opinion and assessment, believe that they are the best players to play because they are performing well or better than another. You know that’s how we made the choice.” Pochettino said.

Raheem Sterling's availability for upcoming matches remains uncertain, with reports of back pain and illness sidelining him from training sessions. Pochettino revealed that Sterling has been experiencing vomiting and back discomfort, necessitating further assessment from the medical team. The winger's potential absence from Chelsea's clash against Everton underscores the challenges he faces in regaining his place in the starting lineup amidst ongoing health issues.

What's next for Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino Chelsea

With only 17 goals to his name since joining Chelsea from Manchester City in 2022, Raheem Sterling faces stiff competition for a spot in the starting lineup. The winger's lack of consistent playing time and the emergence of other talents have fueled speculation about his future at the club. Reports linking Sterling with a move to the Saudi Pro League highlight the uncertainty surrounding his tenure at Stamford Bridge, as he navigates challenges both on and off the pitch.

Mauricio Pochettino's explanation sheds light on the complex dynamics influencing Raheem Sterling's role at Chelsea. As the winger grapples with health concerns and competition for places, his ability to overcome adversity and reclaim his position in the team remains uncertain. Whether Sterling can rise to the challenge and rediscover his form will ultimately shape his future trajectory at Chelsea Football Club.