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Rodgers Reaffirms Sturridge's England Commitment

In the face of questions and criticisms over Daniel Sturridge pulling out of England's World Cup Qualifying matches, Brendan Rodgers has spoken up in his striker's defense.

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Hold him close, Brenno.
Hold him close, Brenno.
Alex Livesey

Much as we expected, Daniel Sturridge has been facing a number of questions regarding how committed he is to the English National Team in the wake of him pulling out of the striker sitting out his country's last two World Cup Qualifying matches with a thigh injury. Rodgers has since declared Sturridge fit to face Swansea, and the criticism has only intensified.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has even gotten in on the action, questioning the legitimacy of Sturridge's injury. "I am sure he would have played the other day in a crucial game but he didn’t as he was injured. But just 48 hours later and he is already fit to play against us," Laudrup told reporters. He went on to add that he "thought there were some rules that if you were injured you couldn’t play for your team three or four days later."

Fortunately for Liverpool, there is no such rule, and Brendan Rodgers has leapt to his young striker's defense. "The medical experts made the decision, not Daniel Sturridge. He returned here and there was a slight improvement but Roy [Hodgson] and his staff have to make a decision if he's going to be available for the second game and at that stage he wasn't." In other words, no matter what anyone else has been saying, it was the England staff that called off Sturridge, not the player himself or Liverpool's staff playing games with a national team, like we used to see with Sir Alex Ferguson.

The criticism that Sturridge has faced this past week has been silly, frankly. He hasn't been fully fit all season after recovering from an ankle injury suffered with the national team, and it was especially obvious during the Manchester United match that his mobility was limited. Despite this, he's been in fine form this season, with three goals in three league matches, and a brace in the League Cup fixture against Notts County.

That said, as a Liverpool fan, it's hard not to kind of pull for Sturridge to put club over country. He's had injury issues in the past, most recently with the aforementioned ankle injury while on national team duty early in the summer, and a plethora of muscle injuries during his Chelsea days. As good as he's been since his move to Liverpool, he needs to be healthy to produce on the pitch. The more matches he plays, the higher the odds of him picking up another knock are, so most Liverpool fans are likely all for keeping him out of the national team as much as possible.

Hopefully Sturridge can remain healthy and put the questions about his commitment to rest. Skill-wise he's one of the best strikers in England right now, and based on form he's probably the top front man that the national team has to choose from right now.

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