Inside Raheem Sterling’s first day at Chelsea as Mason Mount and Reece James confirm squad excitment

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New signing: Raheem Sterling  (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
New signing: Raheem Sterling (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

After a long-haul flight from London to Los Angeles, Raheem Sterling was still jet-lagged as he walked out for his first Chelsea training session at the UCLA Campus here on Wednesday.

But as he joined up with his new team-mates, there was a real buzz around the arrival of a player who declared he was returning “home” to London by joining from Manchester City.

“Raheem is now with us,” Thomas Tuchel told the Chelsea squad as he welcomed Sterling into the camp before the session in the sweltering California heat yesterday. “A very warm welcome from all of us. We are very happy that you are here.”

Chelsea feel they have secured something of a bargain by signing Sterling for £47.5million.

In Pictures | Chelsea sign Raheem Sterling

Mason Mount believes the 27-year-old is “one of the best in the world” and says his arrival is a statement of intent from new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

“I know Raz pretty well and I’ve been lucky enough to play with him for the last couple of years with England,” Mount said in the team hotel in Los Angeles. “When he doesn’t have the ball, he’s a massive threat so for him to now be with us, we’re delighted.

“We’re buzzing to play with him. He’s going to bring a lot to the group so it’s exciting times.

“We always have our competitions after training with England and he’s a top, top finisher. He’s a top-class player, one of the best in the world, so we just need to bring the best out of him. It’s a massive plus for us that he has chosen Chelsea.

“To bring a player like Raheem in, who has been a winner over the last years, is certainly going to make us stronger. We are going to do everything we can to push him and get that level out of him that you know you can. He can be so dangerous.

“I’ve witnessed and seen it playing on the pitch with him. He is very exciting to play with because you have that connection, you know what he wants. If you can give that to him, he is going to tear teams apart.”

Following the morning training session at UCLA, Sterling was among a group of Chelsea players who visited Dodger Stadium, where he had a kick-about on the pitch.

The hope is that Sterling, who has signed a five-year contract and becomes the best-paid player at Chelsea on wages of more than £300,000 a week, will help return the club back to the top of English football.

He wants to win the Champions League and help Chelsea challenge City and Liverpool for the Premier League title next season.

Sterling won nine major honours, including four Premier League titles at City, and Boehly said: “Raheem Sterling is a serial winner and his signing is an important step in strengthening our squad.

“We are delighted for Raheem to return to London with Chelsea, and we look forward to seeing his world-class talent on display at Stamford Bridge.”

Sterling is in line to make his Chelsea debut in a friendly against Club America at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.

There is real excitement within the Chelsea squad about the impact he can have.

Reece James said: ‘It’s a very exciting signing. He’s not a player that has no experience or hasn’t won any trophies. He has scored a number of goals and has a number of assists, he has won trophies in one of the biggest leagues in football.

“Playing against him is a nightmare so I’m pretty happy that he’s here now. The way he plays, he’s so small and sharp. He looks small but you don’t realise how strong he is. He never stops and is always trying to run in behind.

“I remember he had a good game in the Champions League final. It was an even battle — he beat me a few times and I won duels a few times as well so it was a tough game between us.

“He has been at the top of the Premier League for the past 10 years and has won a number of titles, so hopefully he can help bring some special moments to us as well.”

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