England forward Daniel Sturridge has been watching video clips of FIFA World Cup™ legends to help him secure a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad in Brazil this summer while Adam Lallana feels Southampton club-mate Luke Shaw can become a Three Lions great himself.
Lallana crossed for Sturridge to score against Denmark in England’s final friendly before Roy Hodgson announces his provisional squad for the finals in May and the Liverpool forward says he’s been watching videos of World Cup heroes for motivation.
“There are a lot of inspirations for me,” he said. “I’ve been watching clips of [Diego] Maradona, the skills he used to do. Players like Pele, Ronaldo – all these players who have done it all before. For me it’s just about improving as much as you can. It’s been a long journey to get where I am now.”
The forward grabbed his third England goal against the Danes, following on from two efforts in World Cup qualifying, and he attributes his current form to the chances he’s been given at club and international level and the senior players in the Three Lions squad.
“To be honest with you, I’m blessed,” Sturridge said. “I’m just doing what I’m used to doing when I was a young player. We’re all delighted with the opportunities the manager’s given us. He’s giving us the platform to show what we can do.
“All the senior players have helped all the young players who’ve come into the squad. We don’t know what these situations are like so they’re helping us out. I’m working everyday as hard as I can – there’s no guarantees that I’ll be on the plane.”
I’ve been watching clips of [Diego] Maradona. Players like Pele, Ronaldo - all these players who have done it all before
With minds firmly set on this summer’s carnival of football, Sturridge was keen to discuss some Liverpool teammates who he thinks will impress in Brazil – including one Uruguayan who could line up against Sturridge on 19 June in Sao Paulo.
“I’ve learned a lot from Luis [Suarez] at Liverpool, I’m being given the opportunities to play now and that’s what is most important above everything else. You see that with Raheem [Sterling], he’s getting the opportunity to play week in week out. Raheem’s a great guy I get on really well with him. It’s almost easy for him [with England], he’s got his club captain who’s also captaining his country, he’s got Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson it [feels like he’s] playing for Liverpool. He’s only going to get better.”
Lallana excited for Shaw futureSouthampton midfielder Lallana, whose fine performance against the Danes was capped by the cross for Sturridge’s winner, will also feel at home with plenty of his own clubmates in the England set-up – including the country’s newest debutant Shaw.
“It’s outstanding to see, he came on [against Denmark] and showed the world what he can do as an attacking left back,” Lallana said of clubmate Shaw. “That’ll be the first of many international caps. It’s where he belongs. I had a word with him before he went on, told him to get his first pass. It was a great gesture by Steven Gerrard who gave him the ball straight away and gave him his first touch because at the end of the day, he’s only 18. He’s still a kid – it’s a big thing to play at Wembley.
“He’ll keep his feet on the ground, he’s got a good manager [Mauricio Pochettino] back at the club and he’ll tell him what he has to do for the next ten weeks to stay fresh and fit.
Lallana himself has established himself in the England fold under Hodgson and admits he now feels at home wearing the Three Lions – but is not taking a spot on the plane to South America this summer for granted.
“I feel I’m part of the England squad now. I know the lads a bit more, having played with them it’s only going to help. Nothing’s guaranteed though. It’s been proven over the last couple of years that that is the case. If anything I’ve got to work even harder now as have the other Southampton lads, Luke [Shaw], Jay [Rodriguez] and Rickie [Lambert]. We’ll just have to see what happens at the end of the season.”
England’s provisional squad will be announced on Friday 16 May, here are some other key dates for your diary.