Daniel Sturridge lacks one key ingredient to ever become a world-class striker, according to Liverpool legend Graeme Souness.
The striker has been forced to play a bit-part role at Liverpool this season, with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho preferred in the Reds attack.
Although the striker did open the scoring for England in Friday’s 3-0 stroll over Scotland, the player has been forced to defend himself against accusations he is lazy.
Sturridge said: “I don’t worry about that, it’s an unfair opinion.
“I feel that I contribute to the team with assists and goals. It doesn’t really matter what people say to me.
“It’s about positional awareness at the end of the day,” he explained.
“My job is to score and my job is to create for the team and coming into the midfield positions is maybe too deep.
“I feel that if I’m coming short and I’m trying to get involved in the game then there’s no-one up front in the forward positions.
“It’s important to have a focal point of the team. If I drop deep and come on the ball, do skills and take people on there’s no one in the centre-forward position.”
But Anfield great Souness isn’t convinced and has warned if Sturridge isn’t shining on a consistent basis now, he probably never will.
“Sturridge has that quality, but what he does not have, and which all successful teams want, is a work ethic,” he writes in the Sunday Times.
“That explains why two big clubs, Manchester City and Chelsea, have let him go and why he is now not in the starting team at a third big club, Liverpool. There have been some good judges who have doubts about him.
“Sturridge is 27 now and I would suggest he’s not going to fulfil his potential. He either cannot maintain physically, because of his well-documented injuries, or does not want to mentally put in the shift as a team player that Jurgen Klopp demands.”
The striker is again expected to lead the line against Spain on Tuesday after Harry Kane left the England squad to return to Tottenham.
Although Klopp is ready to bring in a new striker in January with Sturridge battling for his Anfield future.
However, our Monday Verdict this week contradicted Souness’ opinion on Sturridge and tipped the player to shine for Liverpool in the second half of the campaign.
Our James Marshment wrote:
‘Good players can adapt to any system and an in-form Sturridge would certainly not look out of place in Liverpool’s attack.
‘The striker has looked sharp in recent weeks and anyone who witnessed his 71st-minute introduction against Watford last weekend, will have noted a player still very much keen to impress at Liverpool and catch Klopp’s eye.
‘The player was incredibly unlucky not to score, striking the woodwork twice and then seeing another effort parried in the build-up to Gini Wijanldum’s first for the club, and the Reds’ sixth on the day.
‘If anyone beforehand doubted the player’s mentality at Liverpool, he’d have eradicated it in that 19-minute appearance alone.’
To read more on this – as well as thoughts on Paul Pogba, Serge Gnabry and Leeds United – click here.