With Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers talking about Daniel Sturridge not being ready to play two games a week following his return from injury, most assumed it was a not so subtle message to Roy Hodgson and the England camp not to overplay his fragile frontman during the October international break. Hodgson appears to have done him one better—he’s left Sturridge out of the squad entirely.
This perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, as while England’s misuse of Sturridge lead to his initial injury troubles more than a year ago, ever since the national team has gone out of its way to handle him with care. There is expected to be a place for him at the Euros if he can stay fit, but for now at least he’s being given extra time to rest up. Or perhaps they, like many fans, are waiting until Sturridge proves he can stay fit before they recall him.
While Sturridge misses out despite being fit enough to play on paper, another Liverpool striker is getting the call in Danny Ings, who has impressed throughout September with his energy and graft. He is unlikely to start, but he could be used as a partner for Wayne Rooney or Harry Kane late on if Hodgson believes he needs to get a secon striker out on the pitch. He is joined in the squad by teammates Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, and Adam Lallana.
England are in a comfortable position in Euros qualification—namely they already have—which does make it easier for them to make a decision like leaving Sturridge out of the team for a pair of games against Estonia and Lithuania. It could also mean more willingness to try new players and new approaches over the next few breaks, which should be good news for players like Ings who haven’t previously been on the national team radar.
They’re set to take on Estonia at Wembley on Friday, September 9th at 7:45PM BST before traveling to Vilinus for their match against Lithuania on Monday the 12th, which is also slated for 7:45PM BST. Both games will be shown live on ITV 1 in the UK.
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