Sturridge sets sights on Euros

Sturridge bagged his fourth goal in as many Premier League games to

help Chelsea break their Everton hoodoo and keep up their 100%

record at Stamford Bridge this term. The clamour for Sturridge to

be handed his maiden international call-up is growing, with the

22-year-old emerging as a real contender to fill the void left by

Wayne Rooney’s suspension for the Euro 2012 group stage. Sturridge

has certainly been one of the stars of 2011, shining in a loan

spell at Bolton and emerging as a rare plus from England’s dismal

European Under-21 Championship before maintaining his form during

pre-season. A three-match ban at the start of the current campaign

failed to halt his momentum, and it is becoming more and more

perverse that he has yet to be called upon by Fabio Capello. That

will surely change during England’s friendly double-header against

Spain and Sweden next month, with Capello having already indicated

he will use the games to blood more youngsters. Acknowledging a

place in the squad for next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine

was up for grabs, Sturridge said: “Everyone would love to get on

the plane, I’m no different. “I just want to focus on working hard

for Chelsea and playing every game and hope that the England

manager chooses me to go. “I want to go to the Euros and it would

be great for me to get selected, but I’m not worried about the

pressure being put on me because I’ve been working hard doing my

thing. “I’ve not been selected for England yet, so I don’t think

there’s any pressure on myself to do anything. “Hopefully, in the

future, it does happen because it would be great for me – it would

be a dream come true.” Sturridge’s latest goal owed everything to

Juan Mata, who was once again Chelsea’s inspiration yesterday as

they cruised to a 3-1 win against their bogey side. The Blues had

not beaten Everton since the 2009 FA Cup final, and had gone more

than five years without a Premier League victory against them at

Stamford Bridge. But the Toffees had not had to contend with

£23.5million man Mata, who also set up Chelsea’s third goal by

Ramires after John Terry had made it 2-0. Manager Andre Villas-Boas

withdrew Mata to a standing ovation 13 minutes from time, and must

now decide whether to unleash his skills on Genk in Wednesday’s

night’s Champions League clash. Chelsea should be able to win

without their new talisman against the Belgian runners-up, who are

on a run of three straight defeats. Fernando Torres will be hoping

to be handed a recall in the midst of his three-match domestic ban,

with Villas-Boas hinting the striker would definitely play a part

on Wednesday. “If we don’t decide on him, it will be long time out

of the game,” he said. “But he has been keeping fit in training and

played for Spain. “It’s just a decision we have to make, bearing in

mind what we want for the team.”