Perth Glory need to be clear on Sturridge situation

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A win on the weekend gave them a much-needed boost, however, the uncertainty surrounding Daniel Sturridge’s fitness continues to cause problems for Perth Glory.

Sturridge’s 10-minute cameo in Glory’s first-round clash against Adelaide United at a sold-out HBF park left many fans disappointed.

Fair enough too, in the lead up to the game Sturridge was front and centre of the #fillthepark marketing campaign. They were sold the idea that he would play and what they got instead was two touches, hardly worth the price of admission.

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The thing is, this all could have been avoided if Glory had been clear about Sturridge’s fitness – if he’s not up to scratch don’t play him.

You wouldn’t expect him to play a full 90 minutes after coming out of two weeks quarantine and more importantly, not playing a competitive match for a year and a half.

Sure, attendance would have taken a hit, but the majority of fans would understand and appreciate the club being transparent about his fitness.

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It was an underwhelming first impression of Glory’s new marquee man, but hardly the end of the world.

From here you would expect Sturridge to build up his fitness, get more minutes off the bench before making his first start of the season, right?

Well, as we head into round four this hasn’t happened. Sturridge has been absent from the Glory squad for their last two matches against Western United and Melbourne Victory.

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Not to miss an opportunity, Glory owner Tony Sage chimed in explaining Sturridge’s absence ahead of the Western United game.

“He [Sturridge] pulled up on the plane a little bit crampy, when they did their walk and that he didn’t feel comfortable. He’s just not used to the four-hour flights,” he said.

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Given the size of Australia and the amount of travel Glory will have to do throughout the season, you would expect Sturridge to have done his homework.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata had to clarify Sage’s comments stating that, “It was not Daniel’s decision not to play last weekend.”

Adding to the confusion, Sturridge came out on Twitter saying, “It’s a long season so please be patient as we build my fitness up which was always the plan.”

All of this just serves to undermine coach Richard Garcia and his medical team. So where does this leave us?

Garcia says they are targeting the Brisbane Roar game on December 18 to give Sturridge some minutes off the bench. Meaning he will miss the match against Melbourne City on Wednesday night.

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While it’s too early to consider the signing a flop, the signs aren’t great and fans have a right to voice their concerns.

Glory certainly haven’t helped themselves with the mixed messages and need to get on the same page to avoid any such situation in the future.

I hope we can look back come season’s end and consider Sturridge a success, but the talking must be done on the pitch, not off it.

Feature Image Credit: Kevin Walsh

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Lachlan Allen
Lachlan is a recent Journalism graduate from Curtin University. He will be covering Perth Glory for the 2021/22 A-league season

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