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Sturridge Hits Out at “Disrespectful” Critics

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Back fit again and facing two important games over the next four days, Daniel Sturridge hit out at critics, saying few will ever understand how much it means to him to be able to play football.

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Daniel Sturridge is back. Given he’s been inured more often than fit since joining Liverpool and missed almost all of the past 18 months, whether he’s back for the long-term will remain a fair question until he proves he can stay fit. For now, though, it’s all positivity when it comes to the star striker.

He’s made it through two matches unscathed and is expected to play a role both on Thursday against Augsburg in Euope and then on Sunday against Manchester City in the League Cup final, and he appeared with manager Jürgen Klopp today at the team’s pre-match press conference to discuss his return and injury issues.

"I think it’s important to worry about the present," Sturridge said. "It’s been a difficult time being out injured but that’s part of football, and now I’m looking forward to the future—of course with Liverpool. There’s really not much to worry about or stress about in the situation. I’ve been relaxed all along; I’m happy here."

With little known about just what, if anything, has been the underlying cause of Sturridge’s ongoing struggles, a wealth of speculation has rushed to fill the void. A lot of it hasn’t been kind to Sturridge. Some has gone as far as to question his will and desire to play. Injury prone or not, much of the talk hasn’t been fair.

When fellow English internationals like Phil Jones or Jack Wilshire fall injured yet again, fans ask if their clubs can in any way count on them as key parts of the squad. Few, though, wonder if perhaps they don’t want to play. Or suggest that the player’s personal or religious beliefs are getting in the way of their recovery.

"I’ve always had my family with me, my friends, but it’s about playing football," Sturridge added. "Nothing more, nothing less. I’m just happy to be playing. It’s all surprising to be honest—I didn’t know religion had anything to do with football. As a child you just don’t ever think about those sorts of things.

"To say a player doesn’t want to play is the biggest disrespect ever to be honest. It’s astonishing. It’s disappointing. It may be football and of course people are entitled to opinions but all I can say is I don’t think anyone will understand how much it means to me to play football."