Daniel Sturridge Ruled Out for England's Trip to Ukraine

Shaun Botterill

With Danny Welbeck ruled out after receiving a yellow card against Moldova on Friday night, many speculated that Daniel Sturridge would be forced into action despite lacking in fitness, but today the striker's been ruled out of the important qualifier on Tuesday.

A mixture of relief, concern, and disappointment accompanies the FA's announcement that Daniel Sturridge will be missing out on the trip to Kiev for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine--relief that he won't be forced into action without full fitness, concern that the injury might be worse than originally feared, and disappointment for a player who's clearly been desperate to force his way into the national side. Were it not for injury, there's little argument to be made that he deserves to be heavily involved, and despite the fact that we're always going to default to what's best for Liverpool, it's disheartening to see his emergence interrupted yet again.

For England it means that they'll be relatively short-handed in what's one of their most important qualifying matches to date; Roy Hodgson's squad currently sit top of Group H on goal difference, but they're only a point ahead of a Ukraine side that's posed them plenty of problems over the past few years. With Danny Welbeck ruled out after a questionable yellow card yesterday and Wayne Rooney nursing a nasty head injury, Hodgson will have to turn to Rickie Lambert or Jermain Defoe, with the former more likely in a match that the current group leaders will try to survive rather than dominate.

And if the injury is enough to keep Sturridge out of England duty, there's questions for Brendan Rodgers as well, as he might have to shake up an attacking contingent that's gone unchanged through Liverpool's first three Premier League matches. If Sturridge is kept out against Swansea, the simple fix is to slide Iago Aspas forward, push Philippe Coutinho central, and bring Victor Moses straight into the squad on the left.

The main hope is that Daniel Sturridge is able to find and maintain fitness at some point in the near future, as injury concerns have chased him throughout his young career. With Liverpool's training staff stabilizing Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger last season, hopefully this brief hiatus means they're on their way to getting similar results with Sturridge.

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