World Cup 2014: Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney partnership will spearhead England campaign

England coach believes partnership will click despite lack of game time together

Roy Hodgson says he has faith in the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to lead England’s World Cup finals campaign and the pair will begin working together in earnest this week towards starting in attack against Italy on 14 June.

The England manager believes that the two leading English goalscorers in the Premier League last season are his best combination and will try to give them as much time as possible, starting with Friday’s friendly at Wembley against Peru. Sturridge’s relatively new international career means the two of them have played just 336 minutes together over five of England’s eight games since the Republic of Ireland friendly in May last year.

But given the inconsistency surrounding Rooney in his last two tournaments, there is hope from Hodgson that this time he can find a partnership that will work.

At the last World Cup finals, Fabio Capello started with Rooney behind Emile Heskey, and when that failed to yield results, he brought in Jermain Defoe to partner the Manchester United man. Two years later at Euro 2012, Hodgson used Danny Welbeck with Ashley Young and then with Andy Carroll during Rooney’s suspension. Rooney and Welbeck started the latter two games against Ukraine and Italy.

Hodgson said he had not “really seen” the Rooney-Sturridge partnership in earnest. “We saw it for 20 minutes before Daniel got injured against Republic of Ireland. We’ve seen an awful lot of the Sturridge-[Luis] Suarez partnership but not a lot of Rooney-Sturridge because they haven’t had a lot of time to play together. Now’s our chance.

“When we start tactical preparation is when the partnerships will start to develop. It won’t just be Rooney-Sturridge we will be working on; Welbeck and Rickie Lambert as well. I think it’s too early to start making big bold statements and judgements on the Rooney-Sturridge partnership being X or Y because we haven’t seen enough of it.”

The friendly against Peru at Wembley will allow Hodgson to see Sturridge and Welbeck together – in the 4-2-3-1 formation with the United man as the No 10. Raheem Sterling is also likely to get his third cap for England after impressive performances in training last week. Should Jack Wilshere begin the game, it would be his first start for club or country since he broke a navicular bone in his foot against Denmark in March.

Although Sturridge’s partnership with Suarez has been identified as the most potent in the league this season, both men have scored more goals in the absence of the other. When both have been on the pitch they have each averaged a goal every 126 minutes. Sturridge averaged a goal every 85 minutes he played with Suarez off the pitch. Suarez without Sturridge averaged a goal every 93 minutes.

Thus far for England, Rooney and Sturridge have scored three times between them when the other has been on the pitch. Sturridge said last week that he and Rooney “get along” and that he regarded himself as the junior man.

“He is a senior professional, been in the game a long time, experienced European championships and World Cups. For me to be around players like him, Stevie [Gerrard], [Frank] Lampard, I am still learning. Open-eared, just taking it in. There is always something new to learn.”

The England squad reconvened at St George’s Park on Monday and will train in front of the cameras this morning. They will work towards the Peru game before one final day off on Saturday. They fly to Miami on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney has partnered Daniel Sturridge for just five and a half hours in an England shirt. The pair have played together in five of the 27 matches since Sturridge’s 2011 debut.

Striker light: duo’s lack of playing time

29 May 2013 v Rep of Ire (h) D 1-1. Played together for 33 minutes.

11 Oct v Montenegro (h), W 4-1. 90 minutes.  Goals: Rooney, Sturridge (pen).

15 Oct v Poland (h) W 2-0.  82 minutes. Goal: Rooney.

19 Nov v Germany (h) L 0-1.  71 minutes.

5 Mar 2014 v Denmark (h) W 1-0. 60 minutes.

Total minutes together 336

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones