Daniel Sturridge missed England’s match with Chile on Friday due to a thigh injury. Roy Hodgson was confident he would be able to face Germany on Tuesday, and all looked well until he limped out of training early.
On Monday morning in England’s open training session, Sturridge walked off earlier than others with a suspected injury. It didn’t look good for the Liverpool striker, but Hodgson has since confirmed that the 24-year-old will be starting the game at Wembley on Tuesday.
Given that Liverpool face a huge game against their rivals Everton on Saturday it is refreshing to see that Sturridge is pushing himself and putting his body on the line. With internationals it is not uncommon for players to pull out at the first sign of injury. For many, their club comes first and they would not want to risk aggravating an injury by representing their country.
It is a frequent occurrence for the other home nation sides. It seems they are constantly having to call up replacements due to players withdrawing from the squad for one reason or another. Just this week Northern Ireland had Kyle Lafferty, Craig Cathcart, Corry Evans, Shane Ferguson, Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt, Jamie Ward and Michael O’Connor withdraw from their squad. Now whilst there may be some bad injuries amongst those players, you can’t help feel that perhaps some of them just don’t see a Northern Ireland friendly as important as their next game for the club. It puts manager Michael O’Neill in a difficult position. You want your best players available at all times. However it seems some will almost pick and choose when they play for their country.
It is probably more apparent for the lesser teams in international football as they don’t have as big of a chance as qualifying for the major tournaments. They wont have a competitive game for over a year, so why should a player risk injury playing in a meaningless friendly?
Representing your country is something every footballer should be proud of, no matter if it’s Germany or Gibraltar. Liverpool’s game against Everton on Saturday is a massive match for so many reasons. Sturridge is a key player for Liverpool, but he only has his sights on the next England game. Even though it’s only a friendly Sturridge knows that it is crucial for him to try and establish himself for England. In my opinion he is already on the plane to Brazil come summer. But he has a huge chance to make sure he is in the starting eleven once the World Cup comes round. Therefore even if he has had a little niggling injury, he has done all he can to make sure he can play against the Germans. Other players would not have even got to this stage, and would have withdrawn a few days ago, so they could make sure they are fit for their club, and able to pick up a handsome appearance fee.