Daniel Sturridge could be England's secret weapon
After an excellent season for Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge was expected to be on the plane to Brazil - but could there be greater times ahead for England if the striker keeps up his good form?
It's very often the same old story for England, the country sends an exciting and capable squad to the World Cup but comes home early and sorry (often after the agony of a penalty defeat) and thinking about what might have been.
Whilst England this time around seems to be more realistic about the country's opportunities in the showpiece tournament, perhaps the Three Lions actually have a chance of going the whole way. Roy Hodgson has found an excellent balance between the experienced and the youth. On one hand you have the trio of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard; bringing years of tournament and top level experience. On the other hand you bring a handful of exciting young stars playing at some of the Premier League's top clubs - Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Luke Shaw... and so on. But perhaps England's secret weapon in Brazil could be Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge.
His talent had never been doubted from a young age. Whilst at Man City as a youngster, there were many who expected Sturridge to go on to do great things. Unfortunately for City, a series of missed opportunities and temperamental issues meant that he would later be sold to Chelsea. At Stamford Bridge, Sturridge really started to show that he was going to be a capable player. In four seasons there, he rarely started but when he was given his chance, he rarely didn't take his opportunity well. 13 goals in 63 appearances later and a move to Liverpool beckoned.
Joining the Anfield side in January 2013, Sturridge finished out his first half season in style, scoring 11 goals in 16 competitions. That summer, many expected Luis Suarez to leave Anfield, but the Uruguayan decided to stay - what an excellent decision that turned out to be - now Liverpool arguably boasts one of the best strike partnerships in England if not the whole of the European continent.
Fast forward to today and Sturridge has just completed the finest season of his career. 21 goals in 29 league games and a total of 24 in 33 in all competitions, Sturridge is in fine form and is ready to go in Brazil.
Roy Hodgson will almost certainly call upon Wayne Rooney to play from the start for England, but Sturridge is likely to be playing alongside him. That's an exciting looking forward line.
So, whilst all the talk of England's chances might be down to the more experienced faces in the squad, rival teams should forget England's youth at their peril - Daniel Sturridge could be one of the tournament's best players.