Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Jordan Henderson will all be joining up with the England national team after Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, but for the time being at least, manager Gareth Southgate has chosen to leave Daniel Sturridge with his club.
“It’s good to see Daniel back playing after he missed all of the end of last season,” the England manager told the media today. “We know the quality Daniel has and he hasn’t had a lot of football back in so we wanted to look at some younger players at that area.”
Most Liverpool fans—and, one expects, manager Jürgen Klopp—will be thinking Sturridge’s omission is probably for the best given his injury record in recent seasons. And, longer-term, if he can stay fit then as Southgate says, he would be a known quality for England.
Two months back playing competitive football and showing he can play a key role at the club level, at least off the bench, is massively encouraging. Still, it seems far too soon to gamble on Sturridge being ready for a heavier workload—for both club and country.
For now, the focus should remain at the club level and gradually increasing his workload. If he can manage that, England will come back for him when the games start to matter and it isn’t just UEFA’s League of Nations secondary qualification tournament on the line.
“We like Daniel,” Southgate added. “He’s a player I’ve enjoyed when he’s been in the squad and it’s good to see him back playing so he’s just got to continue doing what he’s doing.”