After being selected by Fabio Capello for the upcoming friendlies against Spain and Sweden, Daniel Sturridge will be keen to state a case for his place on the plane to Poland and the Ukraine next summer.
With four Premier League goals in six appearances to his name this term the Chelsea starlet will certainly be doing all he can to thrust himself to the forefront of Capello’s mind.
The exclusion of England talisman Wayne Rooney from the tournament’s group stage and Andy Carroll’s poor form resulting in his omission from the latest squad, all five strikers selected will be vying for the chance to replace Rooney next June.
With fellow countrymen Gabriel Agbonlahor (three), Bobby Zamora (one) and Danny Welbeck (two) only managing just the six caps between them without scoring a goal, Sturridge could find himself in a very healthy position if he manages to put in a good performance during one of the friendly matches if given game time.
The only striker who has managed to start to turn out for the three lions on a more regular basis is Darren Bent who has four goals to his name and surely set to start at least one of the two Wembley fixtures.
Capello has already stated Rooney’s exclusion from this squad was due to his euro ban, and he has confirmed he will be using both matches to try out different players in the ‘Rooney’ position. This has opened the door to Sturridge who offers the three lions something different in attack.
A good cameo performance from the Chelsea man or any of the other strikers could well be the start of a more proactive European championship experience than expected due to the fact Rooney is normally the first name on the team sheet.
Along with Everton’s Jack Rodwell, Sturridge was the only other player to be picked for the England squad for the very first time, as he edges ever closer to his full international debut after representing the three lions at every age group from U16’s - U21’s.
An appearance in an England shirt during the international week would most defiantly represent a successful end to 2011 for the Chelsea youngster who started the calendar year on loan at Bolton Wanderers where his goals for the Trotters earned him plaudits, followed by forcing himself into the Chelsea side this season.
By Simon Blaquiere