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Daniel Sturridge Inspired by Diego Maradona, Unsure of England World Cup Spot

England's Daniel Sturridge celebrates after scoring  the opening goal during the international friendly soccer match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

Liverpool's goal machine Daniel Sturridge has spoken to the club's website about his admiration for Diego Maradona, and how the former Argentina legend is an inspiration to him.

Sturridge commented of how he studies his favourite players from years gone by in an attempt to replicate their successes.

However, he also said that he does not think that his place on the plane to World Cup in Brazil is guaranteed yet. 

Sturridge told the website:

During the afternoon before the Denmark game I was watching Maradona's clips to take pointers from the skills he was doing. There are a lot of inspirations for me. I have watched clips of so many players. I'll be watching players like Michael Owen, Paul Gascoigne, Pele, Ronaldo - all these older players who have done it before me.

There are no guarantees I will be on the plane [to Brazil] but I am working as hard as I possibly can to make sure I will be there. It is important that I keep improving. For me, I can never stop improving no matter what age I am at and what club I am at. I have to push myself as hard I possibly can to get as good as I possibly can.

I am not getting too excited about anything that is going on - I am just humbled by it. Whichever opportunities come my way, I do my best to take them. I work as hard as I possibly can and give 100 per cent in every game.

Sturridge's humble words are a reflection of the player and the effort he has put in to becoming one of the best strikers in Europe. 

The 24-year-old is one of the prime reasons for Liverpool's Premier League position this year.

He has scored 18 goals in 20 league appearances, also providing five assists, per WhoScored.com.

He scored the only goal of the match at Wembley on Wednesday, as England defeated Denmark 1-0. He started in a wider position for Roy Hodgson than he does for Brendan Rodgers, and this showed in his performance level, which was not as high as it is when he is in a Liverpool shirt.

Daily Telegraph Football Correspondent Henry Winter blamed the part of the pitch Sturridge was operating in for this and tweeted: 

Despite Sturridge's thoughts, there is little doubt that on current form he will be one of the first names on Hodgson's final squad sheet for Brazil, and will almost definitely be in the starting line-up.

He has improved hugely since his transfer to Liverpool just over a year ago, and his partnership with Luis Suarez has provided him with many opportunities to score.

It is questionable whether Hodgson should start Wayne Rooney in the striker position over Sturridge, who is more of a predator than the Manchester United man. Rooney is more adept at dropping off into wider positions than the Liverpool player, and the imbalance was there to see against Denmark.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11:  Wayne Rooney of England and Daniel Sturridge of England celebrate after Branko Boskovic of Montenegro (not pictured) scored an own goal to make it 2:0 during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England a
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Sturridge out wide did not work.

He was forced to track back into the left-back position too many times, and he does not have the mobility or midfield brain to cope with this while still giving a dangerous attacking performance.

If England go to Brazil with Sturridge highest up the pitch, there is a good possibility that the young attacker will outshine Suarez in Group D, and become the star of the show ahead of his lauded club partner. 

The player deserves all the plaudits he is currently getting, and could be only months away from a great World Cup finals appearance, and a further rocketing of his own stock. 

 

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