Richard Hercock: Hodgson right to take diplomatic approach over Sturridge

England Manager Roy Hodgson
England Manager Roy Hodgson
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It is not often I have sympathy for football managers, let alone ones plying their trade in the Premier League.

I am like most of our readers who would sacrifice many things just for the chance to be in their shoes.

The closest I will ever come is the computer variety of Championship Manager.

But I did sympathise with Brendan Rodgers this week.

The Liverpool manager was outspoken in warning England not to select his striker Daniel Sturridge to play in next week’s Euro 2016 qualifiers.

A little unusual, apart from Sturridge has not played for Liverpool – the club who pay his handsome wages – since he was injured on international duty with England last month.

Sturridge is a key player for the Reds and his absence has been felt at Anfield.

The fact he could make his return to action today when Lverpool host West Brom had brought up the possibility he could also join the England squad next week.

But England coach Roy Hodgson has shown the diplomatic streak in his character by deciding to head off for his double-header with just three strikers.

While I am usually the first to moan when players cry off from international duty for minor injuries, I think this is the sensible appoach.

A player’s welfare also has to come into the reckoning and recuperation at Anfield is far better than getting on the coach and plane with the national team.

Of course, Sturridge is not the only player in this situation – Phil Jones has also been a big miss for Manchester United after returning from England duty crocked – and every case has to be judged on its own merits.

Sturridge was in the stands last Saturday to watch the Merseyside derby end 1-1.

It turned out to be a great day for the Toffees’ Phil Jagielka.

Not only did he score a late equaliser for the Blues, but because it was a lunchtime kick-off he had plenty of time to get in his car and drive back to Sheffield to attend Sheffield United’s 125th birthday anniversary party.

‘Jags’ did have to accept second place on the night, though, as he was pipped to the accolade of the Blades’ finest player in history by a certain Tony Currie.

But when you consider some of the talent that has graced the Bramall Lane pitch over the last 125 years that is no mean tribute, as voted for by the club’s supporters.

Former players came from around the world, including Alan Woodward – the Blades legend who jetted in from his home in America.

Woodward made over 500 appearances in the red and white of United in the Sixties and Seventies.

Even Neil Warnock, the veteran manager still earning his crust in the Premier League with Crystal Palace, made the pilgrimage back to his boyhood club on Saturday evening for the 1,200 sell-out bash.

Although after seeing his side complete an impressive 2-0 win over Leicester City earlier in the day, that drive up the M1 must have felt a lot shorter than normal.