Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Daniel Sturridge will not be in the England squad after he met with Roy Hodgson to discuss the striker’s fitness issues.
Sturridge has not played since he injured a thigh in England’s friendly with Norway last month and Rodgers has been sharply critical of his treatment at the hands of the Football Association medical staff. Speaking after Liverpool’s Champions League defeat to Basel, Rodgers said that Sturridge would not be named in Hodgson’s squad which is announced this lunchtime at Wembley.
It is the FA medical staff’s prerogative to decide on fitness issues and Rodgers had previously said that Sturridge may yet be fit to play for Liverpool against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. The striker was not part of the Liverpool squad that travelled to Basel. Hodgson was at the Emirates last night where Danny Welbeck scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-1 victory.
Hodgson’s side face San Marino at Wembley on Thursday and then Estonia in Tallinn three days later. Although he can do without his first-choice centre-forward in two very winnable Euro 2016 qualifiers it may yet prove a dangerous precedent if Sturridge is available for Liverpool on Saturday.
Hodgson also has to make a decision on which of his Under-21 eligible players join up with Gareth Southgate’s squad for the two legs of their European championship qualifier a week on Friday against Croatia at Molineux and then in Vincovki four days later. Luke Shaw looks one such candidate providing Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs are both fit. Hodgson will have to decide whether he can spare one or both of Calum Chambers and John Stones.
The England manager is still without the injured Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, reducing his centre-back options further. Were he to allow Southgate to take Chambers and Stones he may look to the likes of Steven Caulker and Ryan Shawcross for cover in two games that England are expected to win. The FA is confident it can draw a crowd of 50,000 for the qualifier against San Marino a week tomorrow, although nothing like the 85,654 that watched England play the tiny nation at Wembley two years ago.
If called up, Sturridge would have to report for duty at St George’s Park on Monday where the FA medical staff could examine him. Either way, Rodgers may reflect that, as a coach who may well end up in international football himself one day, the diplomatic option would be to let his player go with his blessing in the hope he comes straight back.
- More about:
- Liverpool FC