Cole backs Sturridge to shine
Ashley Cole expects Daniel Sturridge to have a major impact at Chelsea next season.
Sturridge enjoyed a highly-productive loan spell at Bolton during the second half of the 2010/11 campaign, firing eight goals in 12 appearances. Cole is unsurprised by the 21-year-old's progress and has backed him to emulate that success at Stamford Bridge - if he is given the chance.
"I saw Daniel Sturridge recently and look at what he has done at Bolton," the England left-back said on www.chelseafc.com. "I knew what he could do. I've seen him in training and he's honestly one of the hardest players I've ever had to mark. His movement is unreal."
He added: "Hopefully when he comes back next season he'll see more opportunities and bang goals in for us like he has done for Bolton."
Sturridge's opportunities will be limited by the presence of the far more established Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka.
However, reports continue to place doubt over Drogba's Chelsea future while Sturridge's from at Bolton cannot be ignored by whoever is chosen to replace manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti was sacked after the Blues finished second in the Barclays Premier League and fell at the quarter-final stage of the Champions League. Cole, however, believes the club should not be too discouraged by what they achieved last term.
"At the start of the season we played some good football, some sexy football to be fair," he said. "Blackpool at home in that first half was special, but it's been a tough season.
"When we had that crazy, not even a blip, an unheard of period for any team, everyone wrote us off and rightly so. But give us credit for coming back and it's an achievement to come second in the Premier League.
"That said, though, we feel as though we should be winning and we want to win, but second is not bad in this league."