Sturridge slams ‘disrespectful’ critics

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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has hit out at critics who have questioned his desire to regain full match fitness, following his return from a hamstring injury.

The England international has come in for criticism over his lack of match fitness since making his return from a long lay-off that limited him to just 12 Premier League starts for the Reds this season.

"I don't pay any attention to it whatsoever," Sturridge told the Daily Mail. "The majority, probably 95 per cent of the people who talk and say things about me, don't actually know me.

"Even some of the people who've played with me don't actually know me. Because they're a team-mate, [it] doesn't necessarily mean we're friends or we talk outside of work. But anybody who knows me will know that I'm one of the most ambitious people out there.

"And for people to say, 'Oh, he don't try enough or he doesn't want to be fit', do you honestly believe I'd want to just be sat down picking up wages when I've dreamt of being a professional footballer ever since I can remember?

"I'm not here going out for nightlife. I can't go out, really. I'm not here having fun with all my mates. I live alone. My family's close but all my friends live down south. I'm here to work. I'm not here to have fun. I'm not here for a jolly-up. Liverpool, for me, is work.

"It's a job. It's something I take seriously and for anyone to question my integrity, it's disrespectful. The people who say those things should take a long, hard look at themselves and probably think before they speak."