With barely three months remaining before Roy Hodgson names his 23-man squad for the World Cup finals, Daniel Sturridge is already staking his claim to lead the line ahead of his international teammates.
Yesterday the Liverpool striker became the first player since Ruud van Nistelrooy to score in eight consecutive Premier League appearances, as he netted a brace in his side's 4-3 thriller with Swansea City, and he looks set to run partner in crime Luis Suarez close for the golden boot award.
Sturridge is just five goals off top-scorer Suarez's tally of 23 and with a prolific 28 strikes in 33 domestic outings, the former Chelsea man's exploits since moving to Anfield over 12 months ago show no signs of letting up ahead of England's flight to Brazil in the summer.
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The 24-year-old has amassed 18 goals in 19 appearances for Liverpool this season, giving him a rate of a goal every 1,496 minutes - a better return than Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney (1,846 mins) and Southampton's Rickie Lambert (1,981 mins).
Rooney's United teammate Danny Welbeck fares better with a goal every 1,141 minutes in his 17 outings this season, but has only found the net eight times for the reigning champions and endured a poor return of one goal in his previous six appearances for David Moyes' side.
Lambert fared slightly better with two goals in the same period of Premier League games while Rooney, whose strike assured victory for United over Crystal Palace last weekend, shares an identical record to his Southampton counterpart.
A similar pattern emerges when the quartet are compared on their goals-per-game statistics for this term, placing Sturridge in a strong position to rival Rooney for the top spot ahead of England's Group D opener with Italy in Manaus on June 14.
image: © geetarchurchy