Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Daniel Sturridge aims to clinch Rio World Cup spot

In-form: Daniel Sturridge has hit 10 goals for Liverpool this season
In-form: Daniel Sturridge has hit 10 goals for Liverpool this season

Daniel Sturridge is desperate to make it to the World Cup after missing out on a trip to Rio last summer because of an injury that also wrecked his summer holidays.

Sturridge revealed he sat out England's 2-0 defeat to Chile because of a thigh injury, rather than the foot problem which has been widely reported, but he is expected to return to the side to face Germany tomorrow.

The game represents another chance for Sturridge to show that he is the answer to England's problems in the striker department.

England have chopped and changed for the last few years as they have sought to find Wayne Rooney a partner, but towards the end of last season, following his move to Liverpool, there appeared little doubt that Sturridge was the answer.

After scoring 11 goals in 16 games, Sturridge was handed his first England start against the Republic of Ireland in May.

But he lasted just 33 minutes before being substituted with an ankle injury that ruled him out of England's historic friendly against Brazil to open the new Maracana.

"That was a devastating time for me," Sturridge said.

"I had to go on holiday to Jamaica with my crutches and (a protective) boot.

"I It wasn't nice because it was really hot. I was there, just hobbling around.

"I haven't been to Brazil. I have heard it's good. Hopefully I will be on the plane next summer."

Not only did the injury deny Sturridge his part in the reopening of arguably the most iconic stadium in football, but it also scuppered his plans to go in to his first full season at maximum fitness.

The striker missed Liverpool's pre-season tour and he was short of match practice ahead of the current league campaign.

That has not stopped him from scoring freely this season, however.

The 24-year-old has bagged 10 goals in 13 matches for Brendan Rodgers' side and he was also on target against Montenegro – a match that put England on the brink of World Cup qualification.

Part of the reason behind Sturridge's success on Merseyside is his partnership with Luis Suarez.

Sturridge feels he and Suarez have an "almost telepathic" understanding of each other and the hope within in the England camp is that he and Rooney can build up the same kind of partnership.

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