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Sturridge Dives Back into Club v. Country Debate

After getting himself into trouble with England loyalists, Danniel Sturridge has further sought to walk back from his September club v. country comments while targeting World Cup glory.

Ian Walton

As England prepare for their final group stage match of World Cup 2014 qualification against Poland, striker Daniel Sturridge has once again sought to walk back from comments that got him into trouble with England loyalists while he watched injured from the sidelines during the last round of international play. Most Liverpool fans won't have minded them, but then, most Liverpool fans had taken them with a grain of salt to begin with.

"It was so frustrating," he said of the reports that emerged while he was injured over the September international break suggesting he fell firmly on the club side of the club vs. country debate. "There was an article on the Liverpool website which they posted out featuring comments I’d made a week prior, so it was taken out of context and the fans had a perception of me that I cared more about my club than my country.

"The games you play for your club are the groundwork for becoming an England regular, and if I don’t play for Liverpool, I won’t get selected for England and not the other way around. And that was the most frustrating part for me because the fans didn’t understand how much it meant to me to play for England. I’ve not had the opportunity that a lot of other players have had in the past so for me it’s my time to do what I can do so it was heartbreaking for me not to be involved."

Liverpool fans might prefer if his previous club vs. country remarks had, as first read, been taken entirely in context and not misconstrued in the least. Of course, expecting a player who has spent most of his career at Manchester City and Chelsea and who has only been at Anfield since January to abandon any England aspirations would have been the height of foolishness when even the likes of Steven Gerrard appear to prioritise country roughly on par with club.

Sturridge may be enjoying his time at Anfield, but as with many players, and not that he's turning up his nose at the chance of domestic or continental silverware with Liverpool, the ultimate goal is and will always be World Cup glory. And for Sturridge, he expects the World Cup being in Brazil next summer will add an extra, special wrinkle to proceedings and he wants to be the driving force behind England finding success there.

"It doesn’t get much bigger than a World Cup in Brazil," he said. "There’s going to be some samba going on. Obviously, it’s going to be a good vibe. It just makes it seem more glamorous. The vibe, the music and the fans and the drums in the crowd—it’s just like a carnival atmosphere, and I think that because there hasn’t been a World Cup in Brazil for such a long time everybody is excited to be a part of that.

"I’m honoured that it’s happening during my generation and hopefully I can be there and experience everything that’s going on. Every player has the opportunity to stake their claim as one of the world’s best players. The World Cup allows people to become things. Someone will become a hero. Someone will inevitably become a villain.

"Hopefully we’ll have some success. I’m not going to lie and say that isn’t the aim, but it’s going to be difficult. For now, I just have to concentrate on first helping us get there and then being on that plane. That’s the most important thing."

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