Raheem Sterling says he is happy to continue playing as a false nine if Thomas Tuchel feels that is the position where he can be most effective for Chelsea – though still sees himself predominantly as a winger.
The 27-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge over the summer in a £47.5million deal from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
He started his career at the west London club in ideal fashion, with Chelsea securing a 1-0 victory away to Everton courtesy of a Jorginho penalty in their first match of the new Premier League campaign.
As has often been the case in pre-season, Sterling lead the line at Goodison Park as a false nine – a role he performed occasionally under Pep Guardiola at City too.
Chelsea, of course, are lacking an orthodox striker after loaning Romelu Lukaku and selling Timo Werner and Sterling may have to get used to leading the line even though his preference is to play on the wing.
Asked about which role he prefers at a press conference on Thursday, he replied: ‘As you all know, my position is mainly as a winger.
‘Some of the time I enjoy floating about and getting on the ball.
‘But I always judge myself on how effective I am on the games, so it depends on where I’m going to be most effective at the moment.
‘The last game against Everton I played from the false nine position. And again, I’ll be most happy where I can be effective and help my team.’
Chelsea are believed to be working on a deal to sign Barcelona frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who previously worked under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.
Sterling, meanwhile, has hit double figures for goals in the Premier League in each of the last five seasons, though his new manager wants him to become an even bigger goal threat and presence particularly inside the box.
Asked about his conversations with Tuchel and what the Chelsea boss wants from him, Sterling replied: ‘What he said to me was just about my directness, always threatening in behind. Not always wanting it to feet, going in behind.
‘But most important is how I attack the box and with the full-backs that we have here he said it’s [something] he wanted to see a lot more of. So that was the main thing in our conversation.’