Former England midfielder Kieron Dyer has told the Daily Express that questions over the fitness of Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge in the run-up to Euro 2016 were unnecessary because he proved himself fit in the final months of the domestic campaign.
Sturridge managed just six appearances for the Reds between August and the start of February in the most recent season, but returned to fitness for the final four months of the campaign and finished with 13 goals from 25 club matches.
That resurgence included him netting six times in his final nine games and saw him rewarded with a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2016.
The 26-year-old's inclusion was criticised by some who claimed that the striker is too unreliable because of his history of injury and fitness issues, but Sturridge answered his detractors when he was handed his first appearance of the tournament as a substitute against Wales by scoring the last-minute winner.
The criticism of Sturridge because of his fitness problems doesn't sit well with Dyer, though; the former midfielder believes Sturridge has more than proved that he is back at the top of his game and fully deserved his place in the squad.
Dyer told the Daily Express: "Sturridge is my favourite. It was riling me up quite a bit that since he’s come back into the Liverpool team he’s been fit for every single game. He didn’t play every game because the manager didn’t pick him in some to protect him, but he was fit.
"He misses one game against Portugal and there’s outrage saying he shouldn’t be in the squad. For me he’s got that fear factor, he always scores in the big games for Liverpool."
Sturridge is expected to start for England this evening in the final group game against Slovakia after his matchwinning cameo last time out.