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Hodgson: Suarez Not Yet World Class

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If there's one thing that Roy Hogdson is good at it, it's identifying players who would certainly never be labelled world class. He's no Paul Konchesky, but Luis Suarez still isn't world class in Hodgson's view.

Photo selected to bring maximum Sebastian Coates to your day.
Photo selected to bring maximum Sebastian Coates to your day.
Jamie McDonald

Uruguay and England both fell short in Group D on Saturday, which turns Thursday's match into a make-it-or-break-it game for both teams as they face off against each other in their second match of the group stage. A loss for either team would all but guarantee elimination from the tournament, and neither team are looking to make an exit that early.

Uruguay were without the services of star striker Luis Suarez during their surprise defeat to Costa Rica, but England manager Roy Hodgson doesn't seem overly concerned about the possibility of the Liverpool man's return to the starting line-up. Because you can never start playing mind games too early in such a short tournament, Hodgson expressed some doubt as to whether or not Suarez should be considered a world class player.

"If you are saying, 'Do I think he has got the potential? Is he a wonderful footballer?' Yes, he sure is," Hodgson said. "But if you are really going to put him up there with Maradona, Pele, Beckenbauer and Cryuff, then you might even argue that Messi needs to have that sort of tournament to get up there with the legends of football.

"Andrea Pirlo was challenging that category. He has done it time and time again, shown what a wonderful footballer he is because this is the stage you have got to do it on really. Being a great player in your league will get you lots of plaudits, but for the world to recognise you are one of the all-time greats you have got to do it at the World Cup."

If one squints a bit, one might be inclined to see Hodgson's point. Up until this point, Suarez's most memorable contribution on the world stage has not been his skills and talent but the much discussed handball versus Ghana in 2010. Debate over this tactical choice aside, it's not the most flattering thing to be remembered for and Suarez will have to use the next two games to do something special for Uruguay if his country are to make it out of the group and into the knock-out rounds where the truly memorable World Cup moments emerge.