Daniel Sturridge has, since his arrival at Liverpool, been England's on-form striker. If one looks at a forward and says his job is simply to put the ball in the net, he's been one of the best in the world. Given he cost £12M last January, it's clear a great many would have put long odds on that being the case when his move north from Chelsea's bench happened.
"When he came to Liverpool I was surprised [that after] a lot of the things that I'd read, he's been absolutely no problem," said Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard. "I think he's needed a manager who is prepared to build a team around him and put him as the main striker. We've seen nothing but quality from Daniel in training and the games and he's even better than I thought he was."
Gerrard wasn't the only one to have heard less that positive rumours surrounding Sturridge's inability to make his mark at Chelsea. Labelled a selfish player on the pitch and moody off it, he arrived at Liverpool with a reputation for having let a questionable personality derail the undeniable talent that led Chelsea somewhat controversially poach him from Manchester City at 20 years of age.
"I'd seen him at Chelsea and Man City and seen some flashes," added Gerrard, "but his consistency at Liverpool has been brilliant. He's certainly fired us to the top of the League: he's razor sharp, he's got great technique, he can score any kind of goal. He's confident, but he's not arrogant or flash. He has a lot of belief in his ability and I don't blame him. He has bundles of it.
"If you saw his goal at the weekend against Palace, it was some finish from a tight angle. Now it's all about Daniel being fit and if he is he can do some damage for both club and country."
For the Liverpool fans watching somewhat nervously, too, the next few days will about him staying fit through the international break now that England are going to be counting on him just as much as Liverpool have quickly grown to.
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- Daniel Sturridge Embraces World Cup Dream
- Liverpool Academy Update: October 10th Edition
- Liverpool's Internationals Preview and Schedule, 10.11.13