Despite missing out on playing the night the trophy was won, Danny Sturridge’s contribution towards winning the FA Youth Cup cannot be underestimated.
Sturridge lost his battle to be fit after picking up a knee injury in the process of winning a vital penalty against Sunderland in last weekend’s Barclays Premier League clash.
The talented striker scored the goal at Stamford Bridge in the first leg which left Wednesday night’s second leg evenly poised at 1-1 before a 3-1 home win secured the trophy for City.
Afterwards, both captain Ben Mee and Jim Cassell paid tribute to the 18-year-old, whose seven goals in seven games played a major part in helping to lift the cup.
Mee said: “It’s a shame that Danny didn’t play. It was a blow for him and I feel for him.
“He showed his character by coming into the changing room to wish us good luck and he’s been a big part of the whole campaign really.
“But Robbie [Mak] came in and did extremely well and played like he’s played in front of 20,000 all his life.”
Academy Manager Cassell added of the news: “Initially we were devastated, as you’d expect, because Daniel’s a top player.
“I went to see him and I had to realise that the person who would be most disappointed would be him.
“We understood where he was at and we made sure he was part of the team by being on the bench with us.
“And although he didn’t play in this particular game, I can promise you he’s as delighted as anybody that we’ve won the trophy.”