Daniel Sturridge: Striker jokes that Gary Lewin 'stole my moment' after goal for England against Italy

England striker is 'hungry and confident' before Thursday’s match against Uruguay

In one of the interview rooms at England’s Urca training ground Daniel Sturridge became so consumed with describing his emotions in the aftermath of his first World Cup finals goal that we got a brief rendition of the famous wriggly-arms goal celebration. Albeit this time he was sat behind a desk with a Football Association press officer to his right and a giggling Danny Welbeck to his left.

“I said I wouldn’t do the celebration if I ever scored,” Sturridge said. “Then when I did, I thought I was offside, I looked over to the bench and all the lads were around someone on the floor. I was thinking: ‘What’s going on over there?’ I didn’t know what was happening and I was caught up in the moment. It was all a bit of a blur.

“Then I saw Gary Lewin [the physio] was down, and I was like: ‘What’s going on here? He’s stolen my moment! I’m trying to do my thing and he’s lying down on the floor injured’ … actually I hope he’s well. He has had an operation, and we all wish him well.”

Read more: Suarez is '100 per cent' fit
Will the Ox be let off the leash?
VIDEO: Hart goes crazy at ball boy

The last part of the sentence came from the heart but it was added just as Sturridge, arms out either side, mid-wriggle, was in full flow. For a moment there we got a glimpse of the Sturridge character. The man has a strong personality, he likes to be centre-stage and when he is “doing his thing” he means it. Nothing wrong with that, because if England are going to get out of Group D they are going to need a goalscorer who believes in himself.

England have one-half of the lethal Liverpool strike partnership that very nearly landed Brendan Rodgers’ team the Premier League title last month. Uruguay have the other half, Luis Suarez, the man the Uruguayan press like to refer to as “the gunslinger”. Except Uruguay’s gunslinger is still mulling over whether to risk his knee, and Sturridge is already off the mark.

It felt like Sturridge was in the zone yesterday, touring the interview rooms with his friend and former Under-21 strike partner Danny Welbeck. The Manchester United man is much more softly spoken, that accent as unmistakeably Mancunian as a rainy summer day. At one point Sturridge interrupted proceedings to tell the assembled press how highly he rated his friend.

“I’ve grown up with Welbs and I think he’s unbelievably talented,” Sturridge said. “He hasn’t got the credit he deserves in the past.” Welbeck is the boy who has worked his way through the United academy system and, apart from that wobble last season when he looked unhappy, could easily stay for another decade. Sturridge is the much less reserved of the two, with six clubs on his CV already, including schoolboy stints at Aston Villa and Coventry City.

He was asked about Gus Poyet’s observation that the Uruguay players would be prepared to do anything – and he meant anything they could get away with – to win Thursday’s game.

“I’m going to do anything in my power to win this game,” Sturridge said. “I’m prepared to do anything, and I’m talking anything. I’m being serious. I’m prepared to do anything to win this next game. It’s do or die. It’s a World Cup. I’m hungry, I’m confident, and I’m so happy to go out there. Do we want to go home? No. I want to win this World Cup like everyone back there does. I’d be gutted to go out. I’d be devastated to go out in the group stage.”

It was qualified later that he was not quite prepared to do quite anything. “I’m not saying I’m going to dive or do anything that’s not within the laws of the game, but I will do anything – like my team-mates – to win this game.” But there was no mistaking the commitment.

As for Suarez, Sturridge finds himself in an awkward position. He is the obvious go-to guy when it comes to the secrets of what makes the Premier League’s current leading player the phenomenon that he is, but one gets the sense that the FA is not too keen on Sturridge talking extensively about the man they have banned for a total of 19 domestic games

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez says he is fit Uruguay striker Luis Suarez says he is fit

Perhaps it is a Steve Peters positive thinking thing. Had he been banned from talking about Suarez? “No, definitely not. I feel we’re playing against Uruguay. I don’t think they’ll be saying we have to worry about Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard. It’s a team game. We spoke a lot about [Andrea] Pirlo before the first game, but [Claudio] Marchisio had to strike the ball from 25 yards to score the goal.”

The most illuminating insight that Sturridge offered on Suarez was the difficulty in knowing what the Uruguayan was likely to do. “There’s a lot of unpredictability to players’ games: Luis, Neymar... you can’t show [Arjen] Robben on his left foot, he’ll go on his right foot down the line. These days players are unpredictable.”

Judging from the words coming out the Uruguay camp, Suarez is less certain whether he will be playing on Thursday. He says he will only do so if he is “100 per cent” fit, although it is hard to imagine him sitting on the bench watching Uruguay’s World Cup finals participation slip away and deciding not to try to do anything about it.

Two days have passed now since the defeat to Italy and there seems no deviation from the England approach from that game; that they must also attack Uruguay and not go back into their shells as they have done at other tournaments. “We’ll play the same way, the same exciting, attacking football, defend well as a team,” Sturridge said. He added that this time they needed “a little more killer instinct”, which will, among others, be his responsibility.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee