England manager Roy Hodgson has risks reopening a club v country debate regarding the fitness of Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge after claiming he will not apologise for playing the injury-victim in last month's friendly against Germany.
Sturridge played the full 90 minutes against Germany after undergoing an injection to cure a thigh problem and was unable to start against Everton in the Merseyside derby, but did come on as a late substitute to score the equaliser in a 3-3 draw.
An ankle ligament injury picked up in training last week will see Sturridge miss the next two months of Liverpool's season and while it is unknown whether the latest problem is linked to the original thigh strain Hodgson is refusing to say sorry for fielding the 24 year old.
"Dan has pulled out of a few matches with us for injury reasons. He has been unlucky with injuries," Hodgson told the Daily Mirror.
"It was important for me to, if you like; test his resolve a little bit. I might have been guilty of putting that resolve to the test, but I don't apologise for it.
"And I am delighted he did get out there [against Germany], even though he maybe himself didn't feel 100%, because that means in future I will know I can trust him as an England player. He is not going to be playing when he feels like it; he is going to be playing when he's fit to play."
After risking his club fitness to play for England in the 1-0 defeat to Germany, Sturridge said: "For me, regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by the England manager you go out there and do the best you can, whether you are carrying an injury or not.
"The manager (Hodgson) gave me an opportunity and it's always a pleasure to put the England shirt on. Regardless of what condition you're in, fit or not fit, if you are selected for England you go out there and do your best."
Sturridge has suffered from separate foot and thigh problems already this season and his fragile fitness is of great concern to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who criticised the Football Association for playing ex-Chelsea forward.
"I need everyone as close to 100% as I possibly can. He is clearly not," Rodgers said of the Liverpool forward after the draw at Goodison Park.
"I am looking at him in training on Friday and he is not right. Whose responsibility is that? It is the [English Football] Association, the player.
"All I can do is look and assess who will give me absolutely everything when they go out on the field. There is a trend. There are maybe some games when he hasn't played well and that has happened on the back of not training."