Sturridge grateful for Pearce patience

21 Jul 2012 09:17:02

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Striker Daniel Sturridge has thanked Great Britain manager Stuart Pearce for helping him keep his Olympic dream alive.

The Chelsea forward looked a serious doubt for the Games a fortnight ago when he was confirmed as having viral meningitis, but on Friday night he played 45 minutes of the 2-0 friendly defeat to Brazil in Middlesbrough. Pearce indicated the 22-year-old is likely to retain his place in the 18-man squad that starts its campaign against Senegal.

"I'm very happy. It's been a long road for me to get back and I've had to go through a lot of stuff over these last couple of weeks," Sturridge said. "Thanks to the manager for being patient and waiting for me to get fit and thanks to the Chelsea doctor for being there for me when I was going through everything."

He added: "It's been difficult because for two weeks I wasn't doing anything, so to get 45 minutes under my belt was crucial and I'm happy."

Goals from Sandro and Neymar saw off Sturridge and his team-mates, with Brazil demonstrating just why they are gold medal favourites.

Sturridge's strike partner Craig Bellamy, though, believes better things are on the horizon for Team GB.

"This was our first competitive game after 13 days and they don't come much harder than Brazil," he said.

"Brazil have been building this team for a year and a half, so we knew what we were up against. But we have another game in six days and the next six days are going to be important for us.

"We got our foot on the ball and tried to play. We have a lot of good footballers in our team, but in the final third, that's what we need and why the next six days are important for us.

"Come the Senegal game we will be a lot stronger. We have to realise we are 13 days in to the season, so physically we are improving and we will improve."

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