England: Daniel Sturridge development thrills Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard

Gerrard and Sturridge: Already linking up well at club level

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Steven Gerrard is ecstatic with the way Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge has developed into a top-class striker.

Sturridge arrived at Anfield in January after largely disappointing spells at Manchester and Chelsea, but has burst out of the blocks this season with eight goals in nine appearances already for the Reds.

And on the eve of England's crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro, it would seem the 24-year-old is certain to start at Wembley and play in front of his club and international skipper.

"I was surprised with the things I'd read because Daniel has been absolutely no problem at Liverpool," said Gerrard. "He's confident and has a lot of belief in his own ability but he is not arrogant or flash.

"He needed a manager who was prepared to build a team around him as a main striker and we've seen nothing but quality. I'd seen all the games at Chelsea and flashes at City, but he's been brilliant at Liverpool, even better than I thought he was.

Gerrard on England strength

"He's different. He's razor sharp, has great technique and can score any kind of goal. It's all about him being available and fit."

Gerrard upbeat

If Sturridge does make Roy Hodgson's first XI on Friday night, it would only be the second time he has done so for his country and would therefore, represent a significant call by the England boss given the importance of the occasion.

Anything but a victory would throw England's hopes of automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup Finals in Brazil open to some considerable doubt.

Despite the pressure hanging over Hodgson's men, Gerrard was in upbeat when discussing his team's chances and said: "There is a confidence in the squad.

"We are not over-confident because we have respect for our opponents. They are good teams. But it's a huge boost to have the majority of lads available.

"Training has gone well and so has the preparation. That is why we are feeling the way we do."