England striker Daniel Sturridge has hit back at suggestions he is not a team player.
The Liverpool frontman has attracted criticism throughout his career about his work-rate and willingness to dig deep for the side.
He has started all three games since Gareth Southgate’s arrival as interim manager, scoring in wins over Malta and Scotland but receiving modest reviews for his efforts in the stalemate against Slovenia.
Asked about the perception that he does not offer enough around the park, Sturridge said: “I don’t worry about that, it’s an unfair opinion.
“I feel that I contribute to the team with assists and goals. It doesn’t really matter what people say to me.”
He also believes the team benefit tactically from his single-minded approach to leading the line and that chasing the ball too closely would be a dereliction of duty.
“It’s about positional awareness at the end of the day,” he explained.
“My job is to score and my job is to create for the team and coming into the midfield positions is maybe too deep.
“I feel that if I’m coming short and I’m trying to get involved in the game then there’s no-one up front in the forward positions.
“It’s important to have a focal point of the team. If I drop deep and come on the ball, do skills and take people on there’s no one in the centre-forward position.
“That’s where I need to be, in between the lines, threatening the centre-halves, pushing them back and creating space for the other people.
“Sometimes I have to drop in there to maybe give them a different picture to create more problems but, again, it’s about being in the box. That is where I need to be.”