Dujon Sterling discusses competing with the best and coming back stronger than ever

‘I’ve been working on those things with the coaches at Chelsea and even in the gym by myself when I’m away from the club. I’ve been putting in the work to get stronger, because I know where I need to be at to be able to compete at first-team level.

‘It was an encouragement to me for the coaches to say “take every moment as a chance to improve yourself” and “don’t dwell on the things you’re not able to do”.’

Of course, there is no better way to develop match fitness than taking on some of the best players around on the pitch, which is exactly what Sterling was doing when the Chelsea squad split into two teams for a training game in Ireland on Thursday.

For much of that 1-1 draw in Dublin, Sterling found himself directly facing off against Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, as well as linking up with his old Academy team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wing for their goal, and says it was exactly the kind of challenge he needed.

‘When you come up against top players, world-class players, Champions League winners, that’s how you want to be tested, to have the chance to compete at that level. I thought I did well, especially against Christian! Personally, it was just good to get the run out and keep building up fitness.