What is the fundamental difference between a nation's "most important" player and their "superstar"?
Robin van Persie arguably fulfils both roles for the Netherlands. Diego Costa could prove to be Spain's superstar yet Xavi may be their most important, while Lionel Messi may prove to be neither for Argentina unless he delivers on the grandest of international stages - the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil, which begins one week today in Sao Paulo when the host nation take on Croatia.
A superstar is the headline attraction. The most important is the player who is most influential to the team's play, or the one whose omission either by injury or suspension would be most damaging to the shape and style of the remaining starting XI.
For the Spanish, all eyes will be on feared striker Costa - who is on the cusp of a high-profile transfer from Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid to European hopefuls Chelsea - due to his goal-scoring exploits at club-level, but it is Barcelona pass-master Xavi who acts as La Furia Roja's metronome; he makes them tick.
While international strike partner Wayne Rooney has attracted criticism, Eriksson has given his backing to the Manchester United forward: "Rooney must start for England, there is no doubt about that," he said in the Telegraph.
When Rooney is on-form, he can be an inspiration. He has a tireless work-rate, plays with passion and, throughout Manchester United's season, he demonstrated an equal ability to score, assist, create chances, create a nuisance of himself while also honouring defensive responsibility.
|Team||Tackle /App||Intercept /App||Clear /App||Touch /App||Chance Create/App||Assist||Shot/ App||Goal||Apps||Mins|
He is only just beginning to creep into form, having disappointed against Peru last week at Wembley Stadium (incidentally being overshadowed by goal-scorer Daniel Sturridge), but got himself on the scoresheet in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami last night, Wednesday.
Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, has flourished under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, having forged a lethal partnership with consensus top three player in world football; Luis Suarez.
In the data table below, Sturridge is on the ball a good amount for a striker, with almost 40 touches per appearance.
He is creative (29 chances created for his team-mates, seven of which turned into assists) and also not gun-shy.
The Englishman attempts 3.4 shots per game, hits the target with roughly 2 out of every 5 attempts and scores with approximately one in every five.
He affected the scoreline (goal + assist) once every 81 minutes he was on the field last season.
|Team||Touch /App||Chances Created||Assist||Shots /App||% on Target||% of Shots = Goals||Goals||Apps||Mins|
Eriksson concluded: "[Rooney] is the most important player for England even though Daniel Sturridge is their best attacker right now. Sturridge is a superstar who has blossomed this season. He can score a lot of goals in the World Cup."