Sturridge sets sights on seniors

England U21 striker aims to emulate Germany's young guns

Sturridge: Salutes goal in warm-up against Norway

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Daniel Sturridge has taken encouragement from Germany's class of 2009 as he aims to win full honours for England.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer shone as Germany won the European Under 21 Championship, beating England 4-0 in the final, before catching the eye for the senior side at last summer's World Cup.

This year's European U21 Championship begins in Denmark at the weekend, with Sturridge named in the England squad.

And the Chelsea striker, who finished the season with an impressive loan spell at Bolton, is hoping to emulate Germany's young guns.

"At the last tournament in Sweden two years ago, the Germans had four or five players who went on to play in the World Cup," he said.

Platform

"It just shows that if you have a good tournament with the Under 21s, it can be the platform to get into the full national side.

"I'm sure a lot of players will have that in the backs of their minds."

James Milner was a key man in 2009 and made it into the starting line-up for England's World Cup opener while Joe Hart made the squad and has now established himself as the senior first-choice goalkeeper.

"Without any pressure on us, we can do well. The most important thing is to enjoy it"

Daniel Sturridge

Quotes of the week

Sturridge has since become a regular in the U21's, scoring in his last two appearances, including Sunday's 2-0 win over Norway in England's final warm-up game.

Stuart Pearce's side are Europe's No.1 ranked team and will be expected to at least match the runners-up performance of 2009.

"Without any pressure on us, we can do well," Sturridge said.

"The most important thing is to enjoy it and not have any pressure of people saying we're going to win it."

England's chances would be even stronger had the likes of Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and Micah Richards not pulled out of the squad, mainly to guard against burn-out.

But Sturridge, 21, insists he is feeling no signs of fatigue and believes England still have enough quality to do well.

"The players with us are more than capable of doing the job," he said ahead of Sunday's opener against Spain.

"It's important for us to keep the camaraderie we've had over the last six months.

"With the way we've been playing and training as a unit, I think we'll be fine.

"It would have been great to have Jack and Andy travel with us. The same goes for Micah Richards.

No fatigue

"They have all helped us qualify but the large bulk of the players in the squad are the ones who got us to Denmark.

"I'm feeling okay," added Sturridge, who scored eight goals in 11 Premier League starts for Bolton after 13 substitute appearances for Chelsea.

"At the start of the season, I was more of a substitute for Chelsea and then, in the second half of the season, I was playing 90 minutes every game for Bolton.

"Playing at Bolton helped me a lot. When I was at Chelsea, I was low on confidence because I wasn't getting the opportunities.

"Playing first-team football was all I wanted. I got that at Bolton. And, next season, it will be important for me to get those first-team opportunities. I feel it will take my game to the next level."