It’s an unusual state of affairs, especially in these days when less than a third of Premier League players are English, but Roy Hodgson has the opportunity to deploy a spearhead of his team comprising two of the most in form strikers in English football.
Daniel Sturridge has started the season with a penchant for delivering on his many years of promise. Submerged beneath the stultifying presence of Fernando Torres at Chelsea, and denied his preferred central striking role as the Blues persisted with then misfiring Spaniard, the move to Liverpool has seen a flourishing of his talent. Freed, and given confidence by the astute man-management of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, Sturridge has become a potent weapon. Starting the season shorn of Luis Suarez, extra pressure was heaped on the young Sturridge’s shoulders, but this only seemed to spur him on, as his goals secured a maximum points tart for the Anfield club.
When Suarez returned, some thought it would lead to a diminishing of the England striker’s profile and power. Not a bit of it, he has dovetailed exceptionally well with the returning Uruguayan, and together they form what is probably the best combination in the Premier League. Each game since Suarez’s return has resulted in three goals netted. To get the best from Sturridge therefore, Roy Hodgson may be looking for a player with the game knowledge of Suarez, and a speed of thought and feet to match. In Rooney, he may have the ideal player.
Even through the Chelsea transfer speculation, Rooney has performed with a vim and vigour that has been absent from his game for a while. The player ascribes this return to form as the result of playing in his more traditional role, rather than being pushed out on the wing to ‘do a job’ as was often the case under then last few months of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. It could be the saving grace of new manager David Moyes. As well as looking invigourated and fit again, Rooney appears to have his hunger back. Performances this season have seen him scampering back to help out the defence, and inspiring the midfield with his drive and passion, as well as notching and providing goals.
Given the different styles of the players, the Rooney and Sturridge partnership could be ideal, with the quick-thinking Rooney offering the foil for Sturridge’s rapier pace and clinical finishing. In the two qualifiers coming up, a double-win will see England on the plane to Brazil. To achieve this, scoring goals is a must, and if the two players can gel effectively, Rooney and Sturridge could be the dream team to ensure qualification, and avoid the nightmare of failure.