Sven Goran-Eriksson has said that the Liverpool front-man is a better player than Rooney is at the moment
The Liverpool striker has been in fine form this season and is expected to go to the World Cup as England’s leading man up-front, with Rooney likely to play off him or out wide.
Sturridge finished runner-up in the Premier League scoring charts after netting 21 times, a record only bettered by his club teammate Luis Suarez.
And Eriksson now believes that the 24-year-old has become a better player than Rooney, even if the Manchester United man is more integral to England’s chances.
"He [Rooney] is the most important player for England even though Daniel Sturridge is their best attacker right now,” the Swede, who managed the Three Lions between 2001 and 2006, said.
"Sturridge is a superstar who has blossomed this season. He can score a lot of goals in the World Cup."
"I think it's fantastic that Hodgson has picked so many young players. Sturridge is a really big star."
"But I don't think this is about courage, it's about doing things right. You have to dare to change generations sometimes and this is the right time."
And although Sturridge may have England supporters optimistic for the World Cup, Eriksson’s quotes heap further pressure on Rooney to perform in Brazil.
The Manchester United man has faced calls for him to be benched after a series of poor performances in an England shirt and although Eriksson thinks he ‘must’ start there is a significant amount of pressure on the 28-year-old at the moment.
Rooney was actually one of United’s better performers in their poor domestic campaign this season, scoring 17 times in 29 appearances for the club as they slumped to their lowest ever finish since the Premier League was created.
But he is yet to find his best play at a major tournament for England and with a clutch of talented youngsters coming through and threatening to take his position time may be running out for Rooney to show just how good he is on the international stage.