Dujon Sterling in shape of his life for Blackpool after tough period at Chelsea
Dujon Sterling is looking to put a difficult 18 months behind him and kickstart his career with Blackpool.
The Chelsea defender’s move to Bloomfield Road on a season-long loan was completed on transfer deadline day.
The 21-year-old, who has previously impressed on loan with Coventry City, had a separate spell with Wigan Athletic cut short through injury last year.
The England Under-20 international returned early to Stamford Bridge, where he would then test positive for Covid-19.
It’s fair to say the career of Sterling, who also suffered with a non-Covid-related illness, has stalled over the last year or two.
At one point there were even fears he might not be able to continue playing.
However, he has fought his way back into the fold at Chelsea, where he was an impressive performer under Thomas Tuchel in pre-season.
Sterling now believes getting regular football in the Championship with the Seasiders is the next step in his development.
“It was a long time coming but it’s good to finally get it over the line,” Sterling said of his move to Bloomfield Road.
“I knew there was interest a couple of weeks ago, so I’m just happy to be here now.
“I’ve had a difficult 18 months or so without playing properly, so it’s good to be back playing competitive football again because it’s a test I need.
“I feel I’m probably in the best shape of my life, definitely the best I’ve felt in a long time. So I’m ready to go and I hope the manager sees that when I train.
“When you’re out and not playing, mentally it can be tough. You can switch off and think ‘Oh I can’t be bothered now, it’s another day in the gym’ and so on.
“Mentally, I was switched on and focused because I just wanted to get back as quickly as possible.”
Sterling continues to be rated highly at Chelsea, where he signed a new two-year contract prior to heading out on loan.
One of the major factors in his decision to leave the capital and make the move to the North West was Blackpool boss Neil Critchley.
“I had a good conversation with the manager,” Sterling added.
“He knew me from my youth days when Chelsea used to play against Liverpool.
“He had a lot of interest in me and we had a good conversation.
“He told me I’m the type of player he likes and really wanted and I suit the way he wants to try and play.
“He put trust in me so hopefully I can repay that.”
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