Top-shotter Sturridge is realising his long known potential, lifts lid on behind-the-scenes cause…
Terms like sports science, sports data and sports psychology are still treated with scepticism in certain quarters, a peculiar modern phenomenon for football's traditional old school mentality, but more and more prominent members of the industry are speaking out over how it has made a positive impact on progressing individual performances - whether by an athlete, or a manager/coach.
In Simon Kuper's groundbreaking book Soccernomics, for instance, the author reveals how some of the Premier League's most high profile managers such as Sam Allardyce and Arsene Wenger have a near anorak mentality toward sports data, with the latter even utilising a document consisting of over 10,000 footballers in order to find the heir to the throne vacated by Patrick Vieira in 2005.
He wanted a player who could cover a lot of ground on the pitch, who could run over 10,000 metres in one match. Unheralded Mathieu Flamini's name came up, he was scouted vigorously, then purchased when, Kuper reports, it was found his runs were in the right direction that would compliment Arsenal's playing style.
Allardyce is a firm believer in sports psychology, telling the BBC last year: 'I've always said a player who plays in the Premier League plays there because of his intelligence and his brain, not because of his skill ability.
'Most of this country generally ignores [sports psychology] because they feel it's for weak people, perhaps. It's not. It's about getting everybody correctly mentally focused. If you look at other sports in the world… certainly a lot of the Olympic teams… they would not dream of not having a psychologist on their team.'
This type of training is now becoming prevalent at Liverpool football club, as Daniel Sturridge - one of the Premier League's top performers this season - testifies to when speaking with The Mirror recently: 'Mentally Brendan Rodgers has helped me out a lot. I've been working with Steve Peters, who has helped me off the field too.
'That was the manager's advice. I didn't really want to see him but I think it has helped me a lot. The manager said to me when I signed that the only thing that's stopping me is what's between my ears. If I can believe in myself and not worry about the past and be totally focused on the job, I will see the rewards.
'I'd have to say Brendan Rodgers is one of the most influential people I've had in my career.'
Sturridge's improvements 'between the ears', as he puts it, has seen him enjoy the form of his career to date. Prior to this season, the 24-year-old was perhaps in danger of becoming one of the country's journeymen who fail to realise their potential.
An Aston Villa academy graduate who also spent time on the youth books at Coventry City, Sturridge made pit stops at Manchester City and Chelsea, before settling in at Anfield.
Benefiting from Rodgers' tutelage, Sturridge has thrived this season, creating seven chances (two of which turned into assists), shooting on target with 58% of his 24 shots and returning seven goals from the 718 minutes he has spent on a Premier League pitch.
image: © kuaver