Sturridge hoping for more opportunities in Chelsea's attack after Drogba departure

The striker was largely used as a winger last season but is keen to impress in his preferred role up front as one of only two recognised forwards at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge hopes that the departure of Didier Drogba will open up more opportunities for him to impress as a striker during the coming campaign.

The Ivorian ended his stay at Stamford Bridge at the end of last season, joining Shanghai Shenhua in China, while Romelu Lukaku has moved to West Brom on loan.

Sturridge featured mainly as a winger last season, but is now only one of two recognised strikers at the club along with Fernando Torres.

"I hope so," he told the club's official website when asked if he expected to see increased playing time. "I've grown up a lot since I first joined the club.

"It's my fourth season with the club so it's going to be a big year, and a big year for everybody, but definitely a huge year for myself to prove to some people what I can do."

After starting the the 2011-12 campaign in impressive form, scoring eight of his 11 league goals before the end of December, the 22-year-old found his chances limited during the second half of the season.

"Obviously I wasn't happy about that but you move on," he admitted. "It was a good end to the season, we won two trophies. Hopefully this season we'll have some success.

"I'm a confident person and I'm confident in my ability. I played out of position the whole season and didn't get an opportunity as a striker.

"It was good to play, but I was out of position for the 43 games I played. At the end of the day I was happy to help the team last season and hopefully I'll help them again this season.

"When you play a new position it gives you a new look on how to play football. Sometimes when strikers play on the wing they take shots on when they shouldn't and they play in a certain way because they have a mentality of scoring goals.
14/1 Chelsea are 14/1 to win the 2012-13 Champions League with bet365

"If you put any striker on the wing they'd have the same mentality as I did, which was to try and create chances but also score goals. That's the main thing a striker feeds off and gets his confidence from."

The former Manchester City player featured as a substitute as the Blues suffered defeat against his old club in the Community Shield on Sunday, and conceded that Branislav Ivanovic's red card was the turning point of the game at Villa Park.

"When you get a man sent off it's obviously difficult," he said. "During the first half they played some very good football and so did we.

"It was a fight during the game but once we went a man down it becomes difficult to win games against teams with such quality. 11 v. 11 I think we would have had a better opportunity and I think we probably would have won the game."