DEAN Sturridge sorted out his differences with Derby County on Wednesday to turn his attentions towards taking Blackburn Rovers' defenders to task at Ewood tomorrow.

And the Derby County striker, who had spent the summer with a £7 million price tag on his head, is capable of causing problems for any rearguard.

Our exclusive Carling Opta Index file on Sturridge shows just how highly he is ranked in the Premiership, after finishing 16th among last season's top-flight strikers - fractionally ahead of Ewood's Chris Sutton in 18th place.

He averaged more than two shots a game and well over 50 per cent of them were on target.

Sturridge, who finished with 11 Premiership goals the same as Sutton, strikes more often than not from inside the penalty area. But the unique Carling Opta data also shows there are other sides to the speedy striker, with good passing ability and a liking for dribbling.

It looked at one stage of the summer that he would be on his way when a transfer request from the 24-year-old former Derby junior generated interest from Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Spurs.

But the £7 million price put most of the clubs off, and now Sturridge has committed his future to Jim Smith and his team.

"I'm just pleased that we've finally sorted it out and hopefully the years in the future will be as good as the last two I've had with Derby County," he said.

1996-97 Season Appraisal

AppearancesM-I29 (1)

Goals ScoredM-I11

Inside BoxM-I8

Outside BoxM-I3

Total ShotsM-I64

Shots on TargetM-I38


Passes CompletedM-I557

Pass Completion RateM-I64%

Crosses into Scoring ZoneM-I47



Fouls CommittedM-I41

Yellow CardsM-I8

Red CardsM-I0

Carling Opta Final RankingM-I16

All Rights Reserved to Carling Opta

In association with Walker Farrimond

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.