• World Cup

Suarez starts the mind games

ESPN staff
June 17, 2014
Luis Suarez says he is 100% fit © Getty Images

Luis Suarez has said for the second time that he thinks England have flaws that he knows how to exploit for Uruguay.

Liverpool striker Suarez, who says he is 100% fit for the critical Group D match in Sao Paulo on Thursday, believes he has inside knowledge after playing with or against Roy Hodgson's players in the Premier League last season and claims they are week in defence.

The same familiarity, albeit limited to just one player, must also be true in reverse, with England's players having insight on Suarez's tricks and technique.

But by underlining his knowledge - he made a similar claim last month - the Premier League's player of the year could be accused of indulging in mind games.

Rooney trains with England's reserves

Wayne Rooney played out wide against Italy © Getty Images
  • Wayne Rooney trained with the reserves and took part in extra shooting and passing practice in a bid to prove to Roy Hodgson he is worthy of a place in England's starting line-up against Uruguay.
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"They have defensive deficiencies and we can take advantage of them," Suarez was quoted as saying by Uruguayan website Ovaciondigital.com as, by contrast, England's players continued to praise his ability. "I know all the players in the England squad, some because they are team-mates or rivals."

Wayne Rooney's role in attack may have become the central talking point after England's 2-1 Group D defeat by Italy on Saturday but Suarez may have a point in highlighting a weakness at the back.

They struggled on their left-hand side - where Rooney started the game - and seemed to be in disarray in the middle when they failed to pick up Mario Balotelli at the far post for Italy's winner.

Uruguay had problems of their own, going down 3-1 to Costa Rica on Saturday but Suarez sat the game out because of the knee injury which required surgery last month and has been at the centre of fevered speculation over whether he would play at the World Cup and when.

However, Suarez, who suffered cartilage trouble in Uruguay's pre-World Cup training camp, insists there was never any doubt about his participation in the tournament.

"At no moment did I think I would lose the chance of playing in the World Cup. I've never thought that during my recovery,'' said Suarez, who scored 27 Premier League goals last season. "Now I am 100%.''

Suarez trained with his teammates at Uruguay's base on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte on Monday but Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez refused to say whether Suarez would definitely start against England.

"It is a possibility, I can say no more,'' said Tabarez, who will have to do without Maximiliano Pereira after the defender was sent off against at the end of the Costa Rica game.

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