A Manchester United player he may be, but Wayne Rooney was watching very closely as England teammate Daniel Sturridge terrorised Barclays Premier League defences last season.

In partnership with top scorer Luis Suarez, Liverpool's No.15 was relentless in front of goal, registering 22 times in the division to help the Reds surge to a second-place finish.

The striker is being widely tipped to shine on the greatest stage this summer, with Sturridge likely to lead the line for the Three Lions when they kick off their World Cup against Italy tomorrow night.

Now Rooney, who could be tasked as the creative provider behind his colleague in Brazil, has joined the chorus of appreciation for the clinical 24-year-old.

"He has turned into a top, top striker and it's great to see," he said of Sturridge. "Brendan Rodgers deserves a lot of credit for his progress.

"He's been at Manchester City, went on loan to Bolton and didn't get a chance at Chelsea, where he played out wide on the right and then was left out of the team.

"He went to Liverpool and played almost every game. His goalscoring record is incredible. He's unpredictable, and that makes him hard to mark for defenders. He's a big player for us. That's a quality of his."

Should Rooney and Sturridge play together in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up, their aim would perhaps be to emulate the scintillating attacking performances at Anfield.

On Rodgers' 'SAS' duo, he added: "They've certainly been the best two frontmen in the Premier League this season, that's for sure.

"It's easier at a club, where you have more time together, but we've had time to work on stuff where we haven't in the past. Hopefully we'll see the benefits of that."

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