• 'When you are selected by England you do the best you can'
• Brendan Rodgers said striker was 'not right' on return to club
Daniel Sturridge has no regrets about putting his country before his club last week. The Liverpool forward's patriotic, if arguably foolish, decision to play 90 minutes for England against Germany while carrying a thigh injury infuriated his club manager, Brendan Rodgers, and saw Sturridge restricted to substitute duties for the first 79 minutes of Saturday's Merseyside derby.
He stepped off the bench to score an 89th-minute equaliser against Everton in the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park but Rodgers was not in forgiving mood. "I am looking at him in training on Friday and he is not right," he said. "Whose responsibility is that? It is the FA's and the player's."
Refusing to see his stance as either selfish or potentially self destructive, Sturridge viewed things differently. "For me, regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by the England manager you go out there and do the best you can regardless of whether you are carrying an injury or not," he said. "The manager gave me an opportunity and it's always a pleasure to put the England shirt on. Regardless of what condition you're in, fit or not fit, if you are selected for England you go out there and do your best."
The thigh problem has been troubling Sturridge for some time and he acknowledges that being on England duty hardly accelerated his recovery. "I have been hampered for the past three games," he said. "Since West Brom [on 26 October], when I got a bang, I've had blood underneath my muscles in my thigh. It's still there now. When I shoot from long distance I still feel pain but it's getting better.
"It's important that I'm training but I didn't get to train much when I was away with England. I only trained once before the game. I need to get the momentum going and just try to get it right and make sure I'm in the right condition to be able to go out there and do myself justice. I hope I'll be fit enough to start against Hull next weekend. It would be great to be back in the side."
Rodgers may have to calm down first. He was upset about a perceived indifference on Sturridge's part to the prospect of starting his first Merseyside derby, but at least the striker seemed suitably impressed and excited by the occasion.
"It was a remarkable game to be a part of," Sturridge said. "I wasn't too sure whether I would get on as we were holding on to a lead at 2-1 but when Everton scored the manager told me to warm up again and then put me on. It was great to be a part of it and help the team get a draw.
"In the end we have to be happy with a point. We were a bit disappointed that we didn't win having led twice but now we'll look to push on. We showed great character and resilience to get back into the game and that was important. It's not about individuals, it's about Liverpool Football Club and it's great to be part of it."
Rodgers will hope he backs up words with actions. "If you want to be a champion, if you want to win things, you have to be ready," he said. "I felt Daniel wasn't ready. The games he has disappointed in have come when he hasn't trained. That was the call here."