Roy Hodgson admits he tested Daniel Sturridge's resolve by playing him in England's friendly against Germany - despite the striker suffering from a thigh injury.
The 24-year-old, who is currently sidelined until the middle of January with an ankle problem, was not fully fit for England's 1-0 defeat at Wembley in November and had conceded before the fixture that he was playing with slight pain.
"The good thing for me about that was that he did get out there," Hodgson told reporters. "Dan has pulled out of a few matches with us for injury reasons. He has been unlucky with injuries. 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 apologize for it.
"And I am delighted he did get out there, even though he maybe himself didn’t feel 100 percent, 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.”
Sturridge has enjoyed a fruitful start to the season in front of goal, scoring nine goals in 12 appearances as Liverpool remains in touching distance with Arsenal, before Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Hull City.
"Daniel Sturridge is a guy that has burst onto the scene," Hodgon added. "We think he will be an interesting player but of course I don’t have that many months ahead to really sort that out.
"I think had he pulled out of these two games and taken no part, there would have been one game that would have been a bit strong."
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