• World Cup

Suarez is not world class yet - Hodgson

ESPN staff
June 16, 2014
Luis Suarez could feature for Uruguay in the crunch clash with England on Thursday © Getty Images

Luis Suarez will have to shine at the World Cup if he is to prove he is a world-class player, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.

The Liverpool striker could feature for Uruguay in the crunch clash with England on Thursday having been an unused substitute during their opening defeat to Costa Rica, as he continues to return to full fitness following knee surgery last month.

He scored 27 Premier League goals last season as Liverpool finished runners-up to champions Manchester City, but Hodgson feels Suarez will have to recreate that form in Brazil if he is to be considered one of the greats.

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Asked whether Suarez belonged in the same "world class'" bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hodgson said: "He will only be at that level when he shows it on this particular stage.

"He has got the potential. He is a wonderful footballer. But if you are really going to put him up there with [Diego] Maradona, Pele, [Franz] Beckenbauer and [Johan] Cruyff, and [Andrea] Pirlo, this is the stage you have got to do it on really.

"You can be a great player in your league but for the world to recognise you are one of the all-time greats you have got to do it at the World Cup."

Having spoke to his Liverpool team-mates in the England camp ahead of the tournament that he would be there to face them in Sao Paulo, Suarez has now gone silent according to Steven Gerrard.

The England captain revealed that the friendly text messages have stopped with Suarez keeping his cards close to his chest.

"I'm not sure where Suarez is up to injury-wise but I expect him to play some part because he's been so quiet," said Gerrard.

"I expect him to be involved in some capacity so they have really good firepower up front but we've seen against Costa Rica they are certainly beatable. They concede goals and if we attack like we did against Italy we will cause Uruguay big, big problems."

Gerrard also singled out Raheem Sterling as England's danger man following his impressive display in the opening defeat to Italy.

"He [Sterling] is fearless. That's the way he plays. That's his character," Gerrard said.

"He doesn't worry about opponents. He just goes out and does the best he can and, for his first start in a major tournament, there were flashes of positivity.

"He's a big player for the future. The manager showed bravery putting the young lads in, giving them a good go, and that's the future of this England team - all the young talent in the dressing room.''

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