Play me or I’m off: Sturridge issues Chelsea ultimatum

CHELSEA striker Daniel Sturridge has warned his employers he will be forced to seek a new club unless he is guaranteed first team football next season.

The 21-year-old’s chances have been limited at Stamford Bridge following his shock switch from Manchester City two years ago, but he has proven his top flight pedigree this term while on loan at Bolton.

Sturrdige has scored eight times in 11 appearances since his January move to the Reebok, a far better strike rate than those men entrusted with the goalscoring responsibilities at Stamford Bridge.

It remains to be seen whether he will be granted his wish, with there still some confusion as to who will be in charge of the capital giants next term.

The England U-21 international has made it clear, though, to whoever is at the helm that he expects to be given games.

“I want to play first-team football regularly for Chelsea Football Club,” said Sturridge. “I love the club. I have been at the club now for a year-and-a-half and have been on loan at Bolton. I love playing football for Chelsea.

“I don’t want to say I am going to leave the club, I want to play regularly, but for me next season it is very important to play first-team football.

“I want to play at Chelsea but if the chances don’t come at Chelsea, then I will have to look elsewhere.”

Pressed on whether he would look for another loan deal or a permanent switch, Sturridge added: “Whatever Chelsea’s decision is. It’s not for me to make that decision.

“The only decision I can make is that I want to play first-team football and that’s the one that I choose to take. First-team football is very important for me next season.”

While Sturridge has found himself deemed surplus to requirements by Chelsea this season, he insists the campaign has been a productive one on the whole.

He said: “It’s not frustrating at all. I love playing for Chelsea and there is nothing else to say.”