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Daniel Sturridge Embraces World Cup Dream

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Back in the England fold after missing their last four matches through injury, Daniel Sturridge is eager to carry over his club form to the international level and claim a starting role ahead of Brazil 2014.

Chris Brunskill

After missing out on September's internationals through injury, Daniel Sturridge is once again in Roy Hodgson's plans as England host Montenegro in a potentially decisive World Cup qualifier on Friday. For Liverpool fans, seeing players head off on international duty always provokes mixed reactions, especially when it's a player with Sturridge's recent injury record. For the players, it's usually seen in a far more wholly positive light, and Sturridge is no different as he hopes to carry over his scoring form to the national team.

"At the moment things are going well and I’ve been blessed," said Sturridge as he addressed reporters at England's pre-Montenegro press conference. "Hard work is what it’s all about. It’s important to do your job and give everything on the football field until the end of the game and that’s what I try to do. I’m feeling good. Everyone is positive , we’re raring to go, and [I] just want to get into that first game and get a result.

"These are two very important games because of the position that everybody in the group is in. We have four teams who can all qualify. We are one of those at the top of the pile at the moment and, God-willing, we can get two great results in the next couple of games. It’s everybody’s dream to play in a World Cup and it’s certainly mine."

England currently top Group H with 16 points and an imposing +22 goal differential, but Ukraine and Montenegro on 15 points and Poland on 13 are still very much in the running. A pair of draws against Ukraine and one against Poland with the two nations set to meet in the final qualification match on Tuesday might be understandable, but negative tactics that allowed Montenegro to draw their last game against England can be pointed to as a key reason why Roy Hodgson's side isn't already qualified.

The return of Sturridge, though, should boost England's attacking firepower, and the Liverpool striker will be expected to start alongside Wayne Rooney on Friday, though there's a small chance Rickie Lambert holds on to the starting role he was handed over the last break thanks to a slew of attacking injuries.

"Whichever players [the manager] feels are best to play in the game are the ones he’ll choose to play," added Sturridge. "Everyone brings something different to the table. We all get along and it’s the competitive nature that we have as footballers, generally speaking, but it’s not about being negative or being jealous of anybody. It’s about embracing the fact that everybody is different, players can get their opportunities.

"I’ve had to wait a long time for mine, and it’s all about working hard. You look at Rickie and how long it’s taken him to get to this level. You’ve got guys like Wayne who have been doing it for years, same with Jermain [Defoe], and [Danny Welbeck] has been involved in squads a lot and has been doing well. I was devastated not being able to be in the games last month because it was a big opportunity for me. I don’t think people realise what it means for someone like me to be in the squad."

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