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Daniel Sturridge: I'm not like other players... I have only one girlfriend and I really wanted to be a wrestler

By Alex Kay Last updated at 12:06 AM on 26th November 2010

Let's dispel a couple of myths: some footballers do like going to the theatre and Daniel Sturridge is not an overpaid brat. In fact, the Chelsea striker never wanted to be a footballer in the first place.

'When I was six or seven, I was never really into football,' says Sturridge, warming himself up after a freezing hour-and-a-half doing his bit for England's 2018 bid near Heathrow.

'I wanted to be a wrestler. It seemed so real. I used to have all the figures and a little ring and every bit of pocket money I had I used to buy new ones. I still have them now.

Daniel Sturridge

Lip smackin' good: Daniel Sturridge

'I think I was about 12 when I realised I wasn't going to make it. I didn't have the skills. I used to do moves on my cousins and we had a lot of fun but then I turned up at senior school and thought, "this isn't fun - I shouldn't be doing moves on my cousins". So I focused on something more realistic.'

That was football, and Sturridge certainly has the skills for that. After spells at Aston Villa and Coventry, Sturridge arrived at Manchester City in 2006, and was a resounding success. But when his deal ran out at the end of last season, he turned down City's contract offer of around £45,000 a week - not bad for a 20-year-old - and joined Chelsea for about £25,000 a week more.

It was not looked upon well by some and sources at Chelsea suggested he was a bit big for his boots when he arrived. But despite spending more time than he would like warming the Chelsea bench, Sturridge, now 21, insists money had nothing to do with his move south.

'I had a huge ambition to play for the best club in the world - which I achieved. Nobody can say I left Manchester City for Chelsea for money because Man City is the richest club in the world. Also, City signed lots of strikers so it was difficult for me to stay. When a team like Chelsea comes knocking, you have to take the opportunity. I think I'm a better player now so the move has been beneficial. Everything's worked out as I thought - besides the fact I'm not playing as much as I would like.'

And there lies the problem for Sturridge. He's rated highly and looks bright when he plays - he was probably Chelsea's best player against MSK Zilina on Tuesday - but he spends most of his time on the bench. He has made just three Premier League starts for the club and, while he is not stupid enough to start kicking up a fuss, you can sense a degree of frustration.

Just champion: Daniel Sturridge scores against MSK Zilina

Just champion: Daniel Sturridge scores against MSK Zilina

'I'm at the age when I want to be starting. I'm not saying the manager needs to oust other players to get me in but I need to be playing more often. It's important at a young age to be playing regularly because that's how you learn to play the game.

'When you're coming off the bench it's difficult to get into the pace of the game and do well. I don't want to be branded a super-sub. I'd rather be branded a super-starter.

'It's quite frustrating but you have to find a way of dealing with that because you're not going to get everything your own way. The opportunities will come.

'Look at Gareth Bale. He's doing amazingly but it wasn't so long ago people were talking about how he hadn't won a game. That's from the conf idence of playing regularly.'

For the moment, Sturridge can still be classed a young player. But in a year or two, you would argue, he needs to be fulfilling his potential - even if that means doing what he doesn't want to do and leaving Chelsea. Swansea tried to take him on loan this week but Sturridge isn't interested, for now.

'If the opportunities don't come in due time, obviously I will have to look elsewhere,' he adds. 'Because it is only a matter of time until you get frustrated. But you have to be patient at a club like Chelsea. 'Going out on loan doesn't always do you good. It could be better to stay and work hard because it will then feel so much better when you do get your chance.

'I want to be a regular at Chelsea - not anywhere else. I believe I am able to start games for Chelsea. I've spoken to the manager about getting opportunities.'

With those opportunities not arising, Sturridge has to take his mind off football. That's where the theatre comes in.

Sky high: Sturridge backing England's World Cup bid

Sky high: Sturridge backing England's World Cup bid

'My girlfriend is a drama student so I rehearse lines with her. We go to watch a lot of shows together. I went to see War Horse recently. I didn't cry but I was quite emotional. I wanted to.

'Since I saw that, I've not been impressed by anything. You can have a fun night at Lion King or Sister Act or other musicals, but this was more serious, more intense.'

It is not the sort of activity you generally associate with footballers, but Sturridge thinks he is different, and it sounds like his girlfriend should be thankful for that.

'I'm not like everyone else. I only have one girlfriend, I don't go out to clubs and go drinking. But I don't think there is anything wrong with players doing that. People in every other job do, so it's wrong for people to say footballers can't.'

With that discipline, Sturridge could fulfil his dream of becoming a Chelsea regular and, eventually, an England player. It is with that in mind that he was at Heathrow to put his signature to the British Airways plane that will take the England bid team to Zurich for next week's vote.

'It felt great. Supporting the bid is such a big thing for me. Hopefully we can win it and win the World Cup. I'd love to score a goal in the final.'

That may be a far-off dream, but a more immediate reality is settling the odds with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka when they meet after training today for their weekly shooting contest. Sturridge and Ashley Cole are fierce rivals of Drogba and Anelka, with the first player to score getting to pick who is kicked out of the game.

'It's last man standing. Normally I'll send Didier in. I've made a few enemies now. I've got a list in my locker of them - so does Nico. Didier scored the last time we played and I just walked because I knew what was coming.'

With so much promise, Chelsea will be hoping Sturridge does not end up walking out for good.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1333077/Daniel-Sturridge-Im-like-players-.html#ixzz16QRfc6dB

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