Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has no regrets over his England appearance last week and insists he will never turn down the opportunity to play for the national team whenever possible.
Questions have been asked about the 90 minutes the 24-year-old played in last week’s friendly against Germany, despite battling with a dead leg, as it meant he was not fit enough to start the Merseyside derby.
Manager Brendan Rodgers dropped the forward as he was only able to train on Friday and even then he was “not right”, although the player ultimately did have a significant impact in scoring an 89th-minute equaliser.
Rodgers still felt the striker had jeopardised his chances of playing because of his England exertions, saying after the match: “There are maybe some games when he hasn’t played well and that has happened on the back of not training. There is a trend.”
Ironically, in September Sturridge was criticised for pulling out of England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine with a thigh injury.
The player, however, had no second thoughts about his England appearance.
“For me, regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by the manager of England you go out there and do the best you can, regardless of whether you are injured or not,” he said.
“The manager (Roy Hodgson) gave me that opportunity and it was a pleasure to put the England shirt on.
“Fit or not fit, you go out and do your best.”
Sturridge’s comments also raise questions about the judgement of Hodgson and England’s medical team in allowing him to play in what was essentially a meaningless friendly.
Back in September the same people made the decision the player was not able to feature in vital World Cup qualifiers, but two months later were happy for him to not only play but feature for the full 90 minutes despite not being 100 per cent fit.
Sturridge does admit, however, he needs to get the problem sorted if he is going to maintain the form which has seen him score 11 goals in 16 matches this season.
“I have been hampered the last three league games since West Brom (on October 26) when I got the bang and I’ve had blood underneath one of my muscles and it is still there now,” he said.
“When I shoot from long distance I still feel it but it is getting better.
“I didn’t get to train much when I was with England, I think I only trained once before the game, and I need to get the momentum going to try to get right.
“I need to make sure I am in condition to go out there and do myself justice.
“It would be great to be back in the side. Fitness-willing and manager permitting I can can get back in the team and help us move up the table.”