Poyet backs Liverpool striker for World Cup success

Luis Suarez Uruguay

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet believes that Luis Suarez can be a star at the World Cup in Brazil.

Luis Suarez may have become a perennial villain to 25 or so million Ghanians, but to his own countrymen he was a hero at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

And Gus Poyet expects the Uruguay international to retain his cult status in his native country with a virtuoso performance in Brazil in the summer.

Four years ago Suarez was the star of the South American nation as he led them to the semi-finals of the world’s biggest one-sport tournament.

Then at Ajax and in his early 20s, he was a key player for Oscar Tabarez’s side in the group stage and also proved to be decisive in the quarter-final against Ghana, blocking Dominic Adiyiah's goalbound header in extra time with his hands and earning a red card to prevent his team from going out.

Fast forward four years, and Suarez has established himself as one of the world’s best footballers and a fearsome striker. Having carried his country to Copa America glory in 2011, the Liverpool striker is set to be the major hope as the tiny South American nation aims to win the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Of course, Tabarez’s side will not be among the favourites, but Poyet, who never represented his country Uruguay at a World Cup during his playing career, backs them to create many an upset in Brazil.

"I think Uruguay is a special team (when) we get together," the Sunderland manager told Radio Yorkshire. "I think before these kinds of competitions - World Cup, Copa America, Confederations Cup - the team gets together and the group really click together and we become very difficult to play against.

"Sometimes when it's just international games and you get together one or two days, I don't think the team performs the same way. So it's going to be important how the players, they finish their seasons and they get together and spend those three or four weeks (together) before the World Cup.

"And of course, having the main players available, Luis Suarez, (Edinson) Cavani even Diego Forlan (who) is going to be there. To be in that possibility to go and create something is special, we will be a difficult team to play against. Having those players up front, you will always have a chance to do well."

Uruguay have been drawn against Costa Rica, England and Italy in Group D, and Poyet believes that with Suarez in red-hot form, teams will not fancy playing against them in Brazil.

"He's a player that you don't want to play against - he's a player you want to play with," said the 46-year-old. "He's a player that if you want to buy one player now in England, most of the teams. You would probably want to buy him because you know that he is going to give you something extra that you cannot get now.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch