Redknapp: A no-pain gain

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Daniel Sturridge’s injury on England duty must be a “turning point” in responsible training, says Jamie Redknapp.
Liverpool host Aston Villa on Saturday Night Football this week. Here’s Jamie Redknapp, who will be in the SNF studio, views ahead of the game…
If there’s anyone who can talk about situations around injuries it’s me. I broke my ankle twice playing for England and tore my hamstring.
I hope Daniel Sturridge’s injury with England can be – not just for him but for a lot of players – a turning point, where people say ‘what do these players do after a game?’. Each person needs their own training schedule tailored.
I think there has to be more dialogue between managers and the England staff and I think Brendan Rodgers made a really valid point that some players do need an extra day’s rest. Speak to the clubs and find out what he does and I think that’s a case of the medical men speaking to each other.
Rodgers has claimed there was dialogue and that’s a different argument altogether. That would frustrate the life out of you as a manager because it’s four or five days before the game so there’s no need to put him in that situation.
I can understand all sides – I see England’s point that they’ve got a game and they’re trying to get him right for the Switzerland game. But I also have a lot of sympathy for Liverpool.
I can completely understand their frustration, their best centre-forward gets injured playing for England and it certainly could have been avoided.
He’s missed a few weeks of his career but I missed years. I look back now and Liverpool fans used to come up to me and say ‘why are you playing for England, we want you to play for us’. And it does create a divide.
There’s not a lot you can do now but you’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Balotelli’s bow  We know Mario Balotelli has got the ability, we know he turns games in a split second, but it’s a case of sometimes chasing lost causes. That’s something we used to question Sturridge about but now you look at him and see how much Rodgers has improved him.
We knew Sturridge had tremendous technical ability but now he works hard for the team. Balotelli worked hard on his debut, fingers crossed he does it again.
I played at Anfield for 11 years and the crowd will get behind Balotelli. I’ve read this week that they’ve sold thousands and thousands of shirts.
If he works hard, there’s no doubt Liverpool fans will love him. If he doesn’t, they’ll very quickly let him know he needs to do more, especially with the emphasis on him now Sturridge is out injured.
Visiting Villans I’m looking forward to seeing Raheem Sterling up against Fabian Delph on Saturday Night Football.
Delph had a great England debut – I thought he might get taken off before he was sent off – but he had a 97 per cent pass completion rate and whether you’re playing in the park with your mates or in your first international that’s a great return.
Aston Villa is also a great move for Tom Cleverley, he had to get away from Manchester United. Once the fans have made up their minds on you you’re under pressure and he seems to have struggled with that. Technically he’s very good and he’s got to stand up now – there’s no excuse, he’s not getting booed and Villa will welcome him. I think he’ll get his career back on track.
They’ve had a great start to the season under Paul Lambert. It’s unfair on Lambert to say Roy Keane has improved Villa because it’s the manager who lives and dies by the sword with his decisions. We don’t talk about other assistants as often as we talk about Keane.
Lambert has brought back a couple of guys who were surplus to requirements and sometimes you have to bite the bullet. You can’t fall out with these players – Alan Hutton and Charles N’Zogbia – because you need them at one time or another.
Last year they did a great job tactically at Anfield, Andreas Weimann man marked Steven Gerrard.
I’m interested to see what Lambert does this time because last year he got it spot on and stifled Liverpool.

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