Sturridge England row: have Liverpool humiliated Hodgson?
Why Daniel Sturridge has been left out of the England squad and what it means for the future
England manager Roy Hodgson has come out fighting in the latest club vs country row involving Daniel Sturridge, which threatens to overshadow England's forthcoming Euro 16 qualifiers, and possibly this weekend's Premier League action.
Liverpool striker Sturridge has been out injured since picking up a thigh injury while on England duty last month and his manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted he is not fit to turn out for his country next week. Hodgson has accepted that and left Sturridge out of his squad for the games against San Marino and Estonia, but he insists he will not be allow club managers to dictate availability and his training methods.
However, Rodgers has now intimated that Sturridge could play for Liverpool at the weekend, and if he does Hodgson will have been "humiliated" according to Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph.
What happened to Sturridge?
The striker suffered a hamstring injury while training with England a day and a half after playing 89 minutes of England's match against Norway at Wembley.
Why is Brendan Rodgers angry?
Rodgers says that Sturridge should not have been training as he, and other "fast players" need to be given 48 hours recovery time after matches. He is concerned that the players were expected to train so soon after a game and has also suggested that Sturridge told the England staff that he did not want to take part in the session.
What does Hodgson say?
The England manager disagrees. He is clearly "unhappy" about the suggestion Sturridge was training against his wishes, says The Guardian. He also says that the limited time England have together means that players cannot take long rests. Announcing his squad Hodgson said: "I've never been asked to give 48 hours to any player. If I am under pressure to give each player two days off between games we won't train at all... For me that is unacceptable. We need to work with the players."
So is Sturridge fit?
It seems Sturridge could play a part for Liverpool against West Brom this weekend, however Rodgers insists he will not be ready for England duty, and by leaving him out of the squad Hodgson appears to have acquiesced to his wishes. Rodgers explained: "If you are talking about a player's availability for England then they need to be fit to play and Daniel will not be fit to play."
But Rodgers' definition of fit, which he now appears to believe covers a player's ability to train between games, differs from Fifa's. The Evening Standard explains that under Fifa rules, Sturridge "only has to play a minor part to be deemed fit to play for his country".
What does it mean?
Hodgson clearly feels some sensitivity over the fact that Sturridge was injured while on England duty, says Henry Winter in the Telegraph. But it is clear "the England manager has been outmanouvred by Brendan Rodgers".
Or does it represent the "final surrender" in the club-v-country row? The Standard believes so. "If Daniel Sturridge plays for Liverpool this weekend then Brendan Rodgers is running the England team. The cosy deal the Liverpool manager has struck with Roy Hodgson completely undermines the principle that England Always Comes First," it says.
But there is an element of pragmatism in Hodgson's approach. "With four Liverpool players in this squad, besides the absent Sturridge and the injured Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan, Hodgson must know how much England needs Liverpool to be kept onside," says John Murray of the BBC.