Di Matteo sees Sturridge role

Lukaku set for Chelsea loan exit but players could still come in

Daniel Sturridge: Chelsea boss believes forward still has a lot to give

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Roberto Di Matteo has backed Daniel Sturridge to play a big role at Chelsea but hinted that signing another striker may be a priority.

Sturridge scored nine times in the Premier League before Christmas last season but then faded, only adding two more goals and sitting on the bench as an unused substitute in the UEFA Champions League final.

As a result, the 22-year-old England international has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge but Di Matteo insists Sturridge still has a part to play.

"He is part of the squad, of the team, and still has a lot to give," Di Matteo told the club's official website.

"He still has a lot to learn as well but we are hopeful he can develop even more and become a great player for us.

"He did very well to recover from his illness in a short period of time. He is a very exciting player and it's great for him to be involved in the England squad.

"He has the ability to play in more than one position. He made it quite public he likes to play as a number nine but there is competition, which is good, and we will see as the season starts who is going to play."

Competition

The competition for places could become tougher for Sturridge as Di Matteo has suggested that more signings could arrive before the end of the transfer window.

But one man likely to leave on a temporary basis is Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku who has expressed a desire to play first-team football.

Di Matteo agrees that is the best option for the 19-year-old former Anderlecht forward.

"At this stage of his career the most important thing is to play," added Di Matteo.

"It might be a bit more difficult here with us so it's the best choice to let him go out on loan.

"We are a little bit light in a couple of positions and we've got one or two young players who are interesting but we will see what is going to go on and see what happens when the market closes."