Graham Potter has revealed Raheem Sterling is “as good as he can be” after the Chelsea winger’s house was burgled while he was away at the Qatar World Cup earlier in the month.
The 28-year-old, who was with the England squad in Qatar, left the training camp to deal with the fallout of the incident at his home in Surrey. Sterling later returned to reunite with his squad mates for the duration of England’s stay in Qatar (the quarter-final).
Sterling is now back training with his Chelsea teammates ahead of their Premier League return this afternoon against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge. Potter, speaking to the media ahead of his side’s match, was asked about the former Manchester City winger.
“He’s good. I mean, as good as you can be,” Potter explained. “Sadly, it’s not the first time that it’s happened to him so he’s used to it – not used to it of course, but you understand what I mean.
“Again, nothing that we can do now but make sure he is as secure as possible with his family. That’s the most important thing. I think the World Cup experience for him was positive.
“Speaking to him, he was positive about it, he enjoyed it but he’s come back just the like the rest and focused and looking forward to the game and knowing we can all do a little bit better, we can all perform better. We’re all itching to try to do that.”
There was some criticism being directed at Sterling for his performances in a Chelsea shirt. The England international moved to the Blues in July for around £55million in total and there were big expectations placed on his shoulders after such a successful seven-year spell with Manchester City.
Sterling did start well for Chelsea – particularly under Thomas Tuchel. He remains the club’s top scorer this season with five goals in all competitions, but there is a common belief that he can take his game up a level.
Potter added: “I think he’s probably, as a result of all of things that I’ve said, he’s come into a new team that have lost some key players over the summer, brought some new ones in the transfer window and then the manager changed. The team from a functioning perspective hasn’t functioned as well as I think it can and him along with all the players have suffered for that.
“I think it would be wrong for me to say Raheem is at the absolute top of his game but he’s not the only one there. It’s my responsibility to help the team function better so that he can play better because he’s go the quality and he’s a top player.”