In the closing stages of West Bromwich Albion’s improbable away victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Daniel Sturridge was substituted on for the Baggies for his first appearance since February.
Once one of the brightest striking talents in England, Sturridge’s injury-hit season and torrid time at West Brom has left his future shrouded in doubt. With no goals scored in just 85 minutes for the Baggies since joining in January, where does the 28-year-old striker go next?
There is clearly no path for success back at Anfield, as Sturridge’s parent club find themselves awash with striking talent at the moment. And with Divock Origi, Dominic Solanke, and Danny Ings also at the club, there isn’t even space for the injury-prone forward in the matchday squad.
The loan to the Hawthorns was meant to be a confidence-boosting spell where the striker could return to form with guaranteed a first-team spot. Yet the high hopes were dashed after he suffered a hamstring strain just three matches after making his West Brom debut.
But all hope is not lost for the English international. Although his brief cameo on Sunday yielded little goalmouth action, it was a promising sign to see Sturridge return to fitness.
There are still five matches remaining in the Premier League season, providing a plethora of opportunities for the striker to regain his scoring touch.
Fortunately, manager Darren Moore has belief in the capabilities of Sturridge, and his recent comments will do wonders for the striker’s brittle confidence. The Baggies’ caretaker boss tipped the 28-year-old for a place in England’s World Cup set-up this summer, praising his finishing abilities and goal-scoring exploits.
Whether Sturridge can rekindle the 2013/14 form that made him the most dangerous Englishman in the league remains to be seen, but the final month of the season will nonetheless be crucial for the striker.
With a productive return to goalscoring form, Sturridge may well earn himself a summer move to a newly-promoted side, or to an established Premier League club looking for a proven top-flight goal threat.