2015/2016 has been a season ravaged by injuries for Daniel Sturridge, but the Liverpool striker has received a major boost in his quest to return to full fitness and match sharpness by being called up by Roy Hodgson for England’s upcoming friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands.
Hodgson has been a long admirer of Sturridge, with the 26-year-old playing a prominent role in England’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup and usually performing well for the national team when called upon.
It remains to be seen just how sharp the striker will be if selected to play in either fixture, but just getting out onto the pitch again will do Sturridge the world of good in order to put his injury nightmares behind him and focus on getting fit ahead of Euro 2016.
Some would argue that there are more deserving of a place in England’s squad given that Sturridge has only managed six league appearances this season, but the upcoming friendlies should give Hodgson an indication on whether the striker can handle the rigours of a major international tournament in France this summer without succumbing to more injury woes.
Facing Germany and the Netherlands may be considered daunting prospects for a nation that could enter Euro 2016 without the hype, hysteria and expectation from a fanbase that once believed that England were destined to succeed at a major tournament, but both fixtures should be valued as a good barometer of England’s chances.
Germany’s strength in all areas of the pitch and the Netherland’s technical ability present contrasting challenges for Sturridge and his team-mates to overcome, and while Group B opponents Slovakia, Russia and Wales could be considered less of a threat, England should take nothing for granted.
Being part of the team at Euro 2016 would be the silver lining in a season that Sturridge would rather forget, and while punters can cash out before the final whistle with Betway during every match, England’s chances of victory will be boosted if the Liverpool striker manages to find his form and fitness.
It has certainly been a testing season for Sturridge, and while others would bury their head in the sand, he has shown great mental strength and determination to overcome every setback that has threatened to curtail his career.
Picking up thigh, knee, ankle and hamstring injuries would provide a serious challenge for any footballer to overcome, and while there is still a long way to go, Sturridge appears firmly on the road to recovery and hopefully produce the sort of form that made him one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
It would certainly be welcomed by Jurgen Klopp who is without a proven goal-scoring striker when Sturridge is unavailable, but also by Hodgson and England in their pursuit of glory at Euro 2016.
Having the striker available to face Germany would be ideal for both parties, and although Betway are likely to consider England underdogs to overcome the current World Cup holders, facing a world class defence is exactly the test that Sturridge needs in order to prepare himself for the tournament.