Liverpool defender Daniel Agger spoke to FIFA.com after Denmark’s game against England, and he believes Raheem Sterling’s rise to prominence could see him go a long way in the game. The Dane was powerless to prevent another Liverpool team-mate from scoring, as Daniel Sturridge rose to nod home the winner for England in their final friendly match before Roy Hodgson names his provisional squad for the FIFA World Cup™.
“I think we played a good game defensively,” Agger said on his own side’s performance. “Sometimes we couldn’t get through. It was disappointing for us that we couldn’t get through.”
Sturridge scored his third international goal, adding to his efforts in World Cup qualifying against San Marino and Montenegro.
“I don’t know how many he will score this summer,” Agger responded when asked about Sturridge’s chances in Brazil. “I hope does well, he’s worked hard and he deserves it.”
Agger reserved his highest praise for Sterling, who impressed with a bright performance against Morten Olsen’s men – who narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in European zone qualifying for Brazil 2014.
“If he continues like that he can go a long way,” Agger replied when asked of the young winger’s chances of a place in Brazil. “If he continues to progress like that – who knows?”
There was a moment of concern for England fans when Jack Wilshere went down in a heap following a robust challenge from Agger – but the Dane was quick to reassure there was no malice intended.
He said: “It was a 50-50, I have to go for those tackles. I was going for the ball – I hope he’s OK.”
Even though Denmark missed out on a place in Brazil, Agger will be casting a keen eye over the tournament in the summer.
“I will be watching, from the first day in June when Liverpool’s season is over!”
If he continues like that he can go a long way
Hodgson happy with England effort
Also speaking after the game, England manager Roy Hodgson was impressed with the defensive work of the Danes and the application of his side – including the efforts of Sterling and Sturridge.
"Throughout the game I thought we were a constant threat and there were goal chances coming at regular intervals, but unfortunately we ran across not just a compact and well organised defence, but also a good goalkeeper because on at least three or four occasions I definitely saw the ball in the goal, but he made a miraculous save.
Hodgson was keen to stress the importance of meeting up with his players for international duty and he was pleased with the time spent with the squad.
"I have been very happy with these few days we have had together, with the attitude and the obviously desire of everybody to get on that plane and grab that shirt.
"It is going to mean headaches for me, but I think it is good news for England that we have so many players who are looking good and able to accept the responsibility. - Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, even young Jack Wilshere, who has not played many games for England.
"I must say, all of those would in my opinion come out of the game with credit."