England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted putting Daniel Sturridge's "resolve to the test" by playing him through injury during the nation's recent loss to Germany.
The former Liverpool boss—whose doomed Anfield reign lasted a little over six months between 2010-11—has risked the anger of his former club by indicating he opted to play Sturridge, despite the striker not being 100 percent fit, reported by Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail Online:
Dan has pulled out of a few matches with us for injury reasons. The first game he played for me against the Republic of Ireland he got injured. It was important for me to, if you like, test his resolve a little bit.
I might have been guilty of putting that resolve to the test but I don’t apologise for it.
And I am delighted he did get out there, even though he maybe didn’t feel 100 per cent, because that means in future I will know I can trust him as an England player. He is not going to be playing when he feels like it, he is going to be playing when he’s fit to play.
While Hodgson's intention is clear—he wishes to stamp his authority over an individual who is susceptible to losing focus—it may have put the player at needless risk.
Sturridge was recently ruled out for up to eight weeks with an injury sustained in the week after his performance with England, per The Guardian, but there's no indication this is linked to his international display, as noted by Hodgson in Ashton's report:
He had scans and there was nothing on them. I believe the injury that kept him out this last weekend was nothing to do with the initial injury he was complaining about after playing for Liverpool.
Interestingly, Hodgson's comments come not long after Brendan Rodgers also appeared to question Sturridge's commitment, following his exclusion from the Liverpool starting XI for the Merseyside derby, a match in which he scored the equaliser from the bench, as per Phil McNulty of BBC Sport.
Rodgers' team suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Hull during their first game since Sturridge's injury. Luis Suarez, the Englishman's strike partner, looked particularly out of sync as he struggled to impose himself at the KC Stadium.
Sturridge has scored nine goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season, per WhoScored.com. Take away these strikes and Liverpool would be nine points worse off than they currently are right now, dropping them from fourth to 12th in the domestic division.
It is vital he regains fitness as quickly as possible. Sturridge is an integral part of Liverpool's attacking prowess and is growing in importance on the international stage.
Long-term injury could hamper his chances of being fit for the 2014 World Cup, and indeed, significantly damage England's hopes of performing well in Brazil.
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