Sturridge can be England centurion: Hodgson

Last Updated: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 20:38

London: England manager Roy Hodgson has encouraged striker Daniel Sturridge to bring his superb Liverpool form to the international arena by predicting that he could go on to win 100 caps.

Sturridge, 24, is enjoying the finest season of his career to date, having scored 18 goals in 20 games to help fire Liverpool`s Premier League title charge alongside strike partner Luis Suarez.

He is expected to lead the line for England at this year`s World Cup in Brazil, but despite his thrilling displays at club level, injuries have prevented him from scaling the heights on the international scene.

The former Manchester City and Chelsea forward has won only nine caps, scoring two goals, and has started just four matches since Hodgson succeeded Fabio Capello as manager in May 2012.

"He`s hardly played for England," Hodgson told journalists at Wembley Stadium this week. "We`ve been very unlucky with Daniel Sturridge.

"Since he`s gone to Liverpool (in January 2013), he`s done very, very well -- not quite as spectacularly well as he`s doing at the moment, but even from the offset, he`s been doing well.

"But quite often, when we`ve had matches, we`ve been unlucky he`s not been available through injury. In my time, in my 25 games, Daniel hasn`t featured anywhere near as often as I would like. Now I`m hoping in the next 25, he`s going to feature a lot.

"Because he`s a great talent and if we can bottle his form, he`s a goalscorer. The talents he`s got, he`s got -- he`s not going to lose them overnight, that`s for sure, so his fitness is going to be important.

"If he remains fit and able, and all the time he remains fit and able, I`m confident he`ll produce. So when I say I`m hoping he`s going to bring it to England, it`s with a view to the future and he should be looking at his 50 caps.
"And when he has his 50, look at a hundred, because he`s got the talent. I don`t think anyone in this room would deny the talent there."

Sturridge is in line to start for England in Wednesday`s friendly game at home to Denmark, which will represent Hodgson`s final opportunity to assess his options before he names his squad for the World Cup on May 13.

Southampton`s 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw was the only new face in the 30-man squad that he unveiled on Thursday and Hodgson warned against expectations that more newcomers might crash the party.

"It`s not just a question of a guy had a good game or scored a good goal. I get that all the time," Hodgson said.

"If you go to Norwich they tell you the guy who scored a good goal last week should be in the England team. You go to West Brom; Saido Berahino`s had a good game, so Saido should be in the team. That`s the way it goes.

"It`s got to be a bit more complicated than that. We`ve got to know our players, we`ve got to know what we`re looking for, we`ve got to know what the balance of our team is.

"I`m sure there will be players who, when I name the 23 and the seven standby players (for the World Cup), might not even be in that group of 30.

"And people go, `Well, he`s playing well for his team,` and yeah, that`s quite possible. It might just be there`s no place for him in my 30 because he doesn`t fit in or someone else has taken the only place he could fill."

AFP

First Published: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 20:38

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