Sturridge shies away from Suarez skulduggery

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 15:42

London: England striker Daniel Sturridge is prepared to do "anything" to beat Uruguay on Thursday, but would stop short of blocking a shot with his hand like Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez.

Suarez achieved global notoriety at the last World Cup in South Africa when his goal-line handball denied Ghana a quarter-final victory and helped Uruguay through to the last four.

Four years on, the 27-year-old is battling to overcome a knee injury in time to face England in a pivotal World Cup Group D clash in Sao Paulo, in which defeat for either side could spell elimination.

Sturridge and Suarez enjoyed a remarkably fruitful partnership last season, amassing 52 goals as Liverpool narrowly missed out on a first English league title since 1990, but Sturridge says that following his team-mate`s example only goes so far.

"I`m going to do anything in my power to win this game," he told reporters at England`s Urca training base in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.

"I`m prepared to do anything, and I`m talking anything. I`m being serious. It`s do or die.

"I`m not saying I`m going to dive or do anything that`s not within the laws of the game, but I will do anything -- like my team-mates -- to win this game.

"I will stay on my feet. I will never dive on purpose. I`m not going to handball a goal shot, because it`s not in my nature."

He added: "We`re an honest country and go about our business in an honest way. No disrespect to other countries, but we play the game within the laws of the game. We don`t bend the rules. We play by the book."

Sturridge also revealed that he had not exchanged any text messages with Suarez since the start of the World Cup.

"It doesn`t happen at home, so it won`t happen when I`m here," he explained.

"I wouldn`t text him to ask him how he is, because he`s a Uruguay player and wouldn`t want to tell me. That`s for his country to worry about.

"He won`t want to let us know how he`s getting on. I hope he`s fit, I hope he`s OK. I don`t want to wish injury on any player."Although Sturridge believes that England would be wrong to focus purely on the threat posed by Suarez, when pressed he identified "unpredictability" as the trait that makes the Uruguay striker an especially thorny opponent.

England are trying to add an element of unpredictability to their own play under Roy Hodgson, as demonstrated by the way that Sturridge, Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck swapped positions during Saturday`s 2-1 loss to Italy in Manaus.

Citing the Arsenal team of Thierry Henry, Fredrik Ljungberg and Robert Pires as an example, Sturridge said it was important for England`s forward players to make themselves as elusive as possible.

"There`s a lot of fluidity in terms of the way teams go about their business these days," said Sturridge.

"It`s important to be flexible and to be able to move and interchange. You have to be able to be flexible as a footballer because you may not have that nailed-on position."

That flexibility was occasionally in evidence in England`s opening game, most notably when Sturridge cancelled out Claudio Marchisio`s opener for Italy by adroitly converting Rooney`s cross following a fine pass by Sterling.

The 24-year-old celebrated with his trademark shoulder-popping dance, but feared that he had been upstaged after England physiotherapist Gary Lewin dislocated his ankle during the touchline celebrations.

"I thought I was offside, then I saw someone on the floor over there on the bench, (I was) thinking: `What`s going on over there?`" Sturridge said with a smile.

"Then I saw Gary Lewin was down, and I was like: `He stole my moment! I`m trying to do my thing!` But I hope he`s well. He has had an operation, and we all wish him well."

AFP

First Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 15:42

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