• World Cup

Rodgers turned Sturridge into top striker - Rooney

ESPN staff
June 13, 2014
Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney have only started seven games together for England © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney says Liverpool manager has turned Daniel Sturridge into a "top striker" and England are reaping the benefits.

Sturridge has long been a forward with great potential but spells with Manchester City and Chelsea failed to live up to expectations before he joined Liverpool in January last year.

He scored 21 goals as Rodgers' side almost pulled off a surprise title-winning surge and Rooney, who hopes to lead England's attack with Sturridge in their opening World Cup clash against Italy on Saturday night, said: "Daniel has turned into a top, top striker and it's great to see.

"Rodgers deserves a lot of credit for his progress. He's been at Man City, went on loan to Bolton and didn't get a chance at Chelsea, where he played out wide on the right and then was left out of the team.

"He went to Liverpool and played almost every game. His goalscoring record is incredible. He's unpredictable and that makes him hard to mark for defenders. He's a big player for us. That's a quality of his."

England manager Roy Hodgson has even compared Sturridge to Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in so far as he can be a threat from anywhere on the pitch.

"Is Sturridge an out-and-out centre-forward? If you see him, he comes very deep sometimes to receive the ball. Does that make him an attacking midfielder or forward?" Hodgson asked.

"He's a similar striker to his Liverpool team-mate Suarez. You could even say he's a similar striker to someone like a Ronaldo or a Messi.

"They are good attacking players and they play where they most hurt the opposition. They don't play in straight lines and they don't play in one little zone on the field. They play where they can do the most damage. That's what we like them to do."

Sturridge thrived alongside Suarez last season and Rooney is hoping to enjoy a similar partnership with Sturridge for England. "It's easier at a club, where you have more time together," Rooney said. "But we've had time to work on stuff where we haven't in the past. Hopefully we'll see the benefits of that."

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