Ashley Cole backs Daniel Sturridge to shine at Chelsea

Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge
Sturridge scored eight goals in 12 appearances last term

Ashley Cole has backed Daniel Sturridge to have a big impact at Chelsea next season following a successful loan spell at Bolton.

Sturridge fired in eight goals in 12 appearances for the Trotters during the second half of the 2010/11 season.

The 21-year-old has now returned to Stamford Bridge and Cole has backed him to perform if he gets the chance.

"I saw Daniel Sturridge recently and look at what he has done at Bolton," Cole told the club's website.

"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.

"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 as Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka are established in the Blues set-up.

But with Drogba's future at the club uncertain, Torres failing to hit his stride last term, and a question mark over who will replace former manager Carlo Ancelotti, Sturridge's fine form for Owen Coyle's team puts him in the mix.

Chelsea's Ashley Cole
Cole backs Sturridge to make an impact at Chelsea

Chelsea failed to sustain a title challenge in the league last season under former boss Carlo Ancelotti and lost to Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Despite ending the season without a trophy, Cole refused to be too downhearted about his side's performance last term.

"At the start of the season we played some good football, some sexy football to be fair," he added.

"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."

Speaking about his own future at the club, Cole thinks he can manage a recurring left ankle injury and continue for at least three more years.

"I don't feel 30. We train with a lot of young players and they make you feel young. I feel good," he said.

"I feel healthy and fit, so I hope to keep going for a few more years, though it's hard to say how long.

"I do have a bad ankle and it's not something which just goes away so I have to manage it and take it season by season.

"But if I look now and say how I feel, I know I've definitely got three years."