Liverpool v Chelsea: Daniel Sturridge driven to victory by his parents as they hope to see striker help Reds take a giant step towards the Premier League title

Sturridge will return from injury tomorrow to face Chelsea at Anfield where his parents will be looking on from the stands

From the days when he was a small boy in the park, dribbling around cones, to training with the kids at Aston Villa, breaking into the first team at Manchester City, being frustrated on the wing at Chelsea and, finally, leading Liverpool’s title charge, two people have always been behind Daniel Sturridge.

Michael and Grace, his parents, will be there at Anfield tomorrow, as they always are, watching Daniel with familial pride and, in Michael’s case, a hard professional eye.

“It’s been wonderful for all the family watching him this season,” said Michael. “It’s been an incredible journey watching him from the age of eight years old, watching him in academy football to now playing first-team football for Liverpool.

“Nothing’s changed in how he is as a person. He’s always been a grounded lad from a young age, and he’s still a grounded lad. I know he’s passionate about football and he’s always been passionate. He’s just always loved playing football from a very young age.

“I used to take him to the park down in Birmingham. He used to dribble round cones with his left and right foot and practice striking the ball inside and outside the foot, so he’s been doing that from a very young age.”

 

And the young Sturridge would watch football, lots of it, on videos, including one special player. “He had loads of VHS tapes. And before that, he was watching Betamax. He was watching me,” laughs Michael. “I went over to Finland just after I left Birmingham City, when I was released by Ron Saunders. I kept the videos from that period on Betamax, so Daniel could watch me. He takes the mickey out of me.”

Like his son Michael was a striker, and so were his brothers Dean, who played primarily for Derby County, and Simon, who played for Stoke City.   “We’re fortunate as a family to have so many footballers in a generation. All the family had their input and offered experience from what they’ve learnt in the game. They all played their part in helping Daniel get where he is today.”

But advice and good genes can only get a player so far. The drive must come from within. “He’s very, very competitive,” said Michael. “He doesn’t like losing. Table tennis, lawn tennis, every sport he can participate in. Did I let him win? No, but he can win most things he puts his mind to.

Including dominoes.” We have domino tournaments and it’s really passionate. He’s very good and if he loses he’s gutted and wants to carry on.”

Sturridge has another secret talent which, now he is living away from his parents for the first time (the family having gone to Manchester and London with him), he utilises. “He’s an unbelievable cook,” said Dad. “Seriously, he’s a dab hand in the kitchen,” adds Mum. “He does a lot of healthy cooking at home.”

Daniel has his brother and his cousin with him in Liverpool, and his parents visit for matches. “We watch every home game,” said Michael. “I still give him stick for whatever he does wrong. I’m one of his biggest critics. Even this season I find faults. Anything he does wrong in the game, we try and look at how he could do it better. But Daniel’s hard on himself anyway so he always looks to improve in everything he does in the game, whether it’s closing down, working for the team. It’s all good.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
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.

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines