Daniel Sturridge has shrugged off the concerns of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, claiming he would always opt to play for England if selected.
Rodgers told the prolific striker—who came off the bench to score a last-minute equaliser in the Reds' 3-3 draw with Everton—to manage his fitness better. Rodgers was frustrated that Sturridge played 90 minutes in a meaningless international friendly only to show less application when it came to training ahead of the derby.
As reported by Dominic King of the Daily Mail, the 24-year-old has no regrets, even though he is still suffering with injury:
Regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by England, you go out and do the best you can.
I have been hampered for the past three games. I’ve had blood under my muscles in my thigh. When I shoot from distance I still feel pain.
Despite his niggling problems, Sturridge was able to make a massive impact when he entered the fray against Everton.
He scored with just 11 minutes of game time, highlighting the importance of the man who has netted nine goals in 12 Premier League appearances this campaign, per WhoScored.com.
After the Merseyside derby, Rodgers told the striker he needs to manage his responsibilities better. Sturridge failed to train fully on the Friday before the game, three days after he completed 90 minutes for England, irritating his club boss according to quotes reported by Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph:
I am looking at him in training on Friday and he is not right. Whose responsibility is that? It is the association, the player.
All I can do is look and assess who will give me absolutely everything when they go out on the field.
We have a game against a massive rival away from home. I need everyone as close to 100 per cent as I possibly can. He is clearly not. A lot of players, especially the top ones, are never 100 per cent fit.
Sturridge's reply suggests he has quite clearly sorted his priorities.
While it is admirable that the former Chelsea forward stands by his decision to play for Roy Hodgson's team, showing the passion lacking from many of the Three Lions' setup, he may need to ensure he shows equal determination for both club and country.
Liverpool were mightily close to suffering a dramatic loss against the Toffees and certainly faced a more difficult task with one half of the "SAS" missing.
While Luis Suarez influenced the game after travelling 13,498 miles from Montevideo—reported by Paul Collins of the Daily Mail—Sturridge was unable to start after a less strenuous excursion with England.
Which should be a priority?
Although the player managed to come up trumps at Goodison Park, Rodgers' frustration would have been more intense if he had failed to impact the game.
As the season progresses it is best for Liverpool, England and Sturridge if the player manages to maintain 100 percent fitness. However, there will be times when he has to play through the pain—like club captain Steven Gerrard—and Rodgers clearly wants his forward to dig deeper.
With the Anfield club pushing for a Champions League place and England heading to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Sturridge has a huge role to play during the biggest campaign of his career so far.