From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.34 :: NO.44 :: Nov. 03, 2011
Daniel Sturridge is a man on a mission and if he maintains his current form it will be mission accomplished. The Chelsea striker is targeting a place in the England squad for next summer's European Championships and the 22-year-old is making a strong case to be included in Fabio Capello's squad.
Sturridge has made a significant impact for the London club so far this season after being loaned out to Barclays English Premier League rivals Bolton during the last campaign.
Nicolas Anelka looks set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season at the latest, but Sturridge looks to be a ready-made replacement for the former France striker.
With the ability to play either out wide in support of a central striker or down the middle, Sturridge has fitted into Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas' side seamlessly and looks certain to become a mainstay in the Blues' line-up for years to come.
The Birmingham-born frontman was a key player for the England Under-21 side under Stuart Pearce but a call-up to the senior squad is yet to come.
Sturridge has been touted as a possible replacement for Wayne Rooney in England's Euro 2012 group matches next summer following the Manchester United star's three-match ban.
He was in the provisional squad for the final qualifier in Montenegro and appears certain to be included for November's friendly double-header against Spain and Sweden.
Blues boss Villas-Boas said: “I don't want to influence any kind of decision but, eventually, any English player who is performing can get a call-up for the national team. He was pre-selected, eventually he was not selected for the final squad, but that means that he is close and that it can happen for him.”
He added: “He plays for a top club in the world so I don't see any reason why not.”
Sturridge's form this season convinced Bolton boss Owen Coyle — a good friend of Villas-Boas — to enquire about another loan deal, a move that was politely but firmly rebuffed.
Villas-Boas said: “I think we always wanted to see him, and that's why we decided to bring him back to our training camp and assess him and make the wise decision.”
Eight goals in 12 games for Bolton last season proved Sturridge was capable of becoming a top EPL striker and he has now set his sights on the international stage.
He said: “I want to go to the Euros and it would be great to get selected. But I'm not worried about the pressure being put on me because I've been working hard doing my thing.”
Looking ahead to next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine, Sturridge said: “Everyone would love to get on the plane, I'm no different. Hopefully, in the future, it does happen because it would be great for me — it would be a dream come true.”
And given the rate of progress Sturridge has made in the last 12 months, it would be no surprise to see Sturridge making a name for himself in an England shirt next summer.
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