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May 29, 2013

Hodgson predicts Sturridge rise

England boss Roy Hodgson has backed Daniel Sturridge's rich run of form at Liverpool to translate into success with the national team this summer.

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Sturridge, 23, is expected to earn a place in the starting line-up during Wednesday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley after a successful end to the Premier League season with Liverpool.

The striker's January move to Anfield appears to have improved his fortunes with the Three Lions and his 11 goals in 16 games for the Reds has garnered a comparison with Manchester United's Danny Welbeck.

"Daniel Sturridge has been an enormous talent for many years," Hodgson said. "Chelsea paid a lot of money for him from Manchester City before he'd broken into their team but he's been more of a regular at Liverpool.

"He's grown in confidence and week after week now we are seeing all the qualities we've always known he had.

"In the same way Danny Welbeck did, we are hoping Daniel comes in and brings us something with his incredible pace, footwork and technical ability to help us win matches. This will be an opportunity for him to show he can do it at a higher level."

Wayne Rooney, who ended a frustrating season at Old Trafford failing to earn a place on the United bench, is hopeful of regaining some form during the friendlies against Ireland and Brazil and Hodgson believes the 27-year-old's club woes will not impact him.

"If anything I find his desire stronger than when we first met," Hodgson said. "I have nothing but the greatest faith in him. I know he'll be really desperate to get out and show how desperate he is.

"Good players can have bad games, it's not an exact science. But my faith in Wayne Rooney has never wavered."

Rooney is expected to play just behind Sturridge, with Hodgson unable to hand him the free roaming midfield role which he has enjoyed at United.

"I know where it's best for him to play and I have it fairly clear in my mind where I want to see him play," he said. "Everyone knows his ability. I expect him to continue showing that. But who will it involve him playing with? That might be a position which is up for grabs."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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