Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge talks Call Of Duty, melted cheese and interpretive dance…
Your on-field sponsored_longform with Luis Suarez has flourished this season. Are you pals off the pitch?
Yeah, he’s just a cool guy. I feel when you get on with somebody it eases any negativity or rivalries between you, and it’s important for the team that we all play for each other.
How does Suarez fare on the virtual battlefield?
I’ve never played him, but I’d be interested to see what he’s like. Now Call Of Duty’s released, we’ll get to see who’s top dog at Liverpool.
You’re a big Call Of Duty fan – are any of your Liverpool team-mates into the game?
[Philippe] Coutinho loves a bit of it. Lucas [Leiva] loves it, too – and then you have a lot of the younger players such as Raheem [Sterling] who are interested in it as well.
What about youth players – is destroying them playing CoD the 21st-century equivalent of having them clean your boots?
[Laughs] I don’t know about that, but I’d certainly say that the majority of players like playing Call Of Duty, it’s just one of those games. You get a buzz off it – it’s competitive, you can play against people all over the world and the banter flies.
You played for Man City and Chelsea before joining Liverpool. How does the Anfield dressing room compare?
Well, there are no rituals [at Liverpool] – you don’t have to sing or anything like that. To be honest, it’s nice to join a club and not have to sing in front of the whole squad – it’s the most embarrassing thing you can ever do. I did it at Chelsea. My performance? I’d give it a strong six out of 10.
Notwithstanding injuries, you’ll be at next summer’s World Cup. Is gaming vital to team bonding?
Yeah, for sure, especially when you’re bored at home. When I was at Chelsea, a lot of players used to play Call Of Duty. I used to play with Ashley Cole and John Terry. You’d come in the next day and there’d be photos on your phone of who’s done badly, who got the most kills – the proof’s in the pudding. I’d definitely say it’s one game that – when you play it with team-mates – there’s always some comedy involved.
Are there any big gamers in the England camp?
Ashley Cole feels himself. He thinks he’s ‘The One’ on Call Of Duty. Personally, I’m not too sure about his gaming skills, but he’s my friend, so I’ll leave it there.
Aside from the World Cup, do you expect there to be an online gaming tournament between national teams?
I’m sure there probably will be – we’re competitive, aren’t we? And players from different national teams play for the same club. You never know, you might end up playing a team [in the World Cup] that you had played on Call Of Duty two nights beforehand.
Online videos of your signature goal celebration went viral recently, resulting in a South African player paying homage to it during the Soweto derby. Did you find that strange?
It’s crazy. I really didn’t think it would be like that – it started as an inside joke and has now become something more than that.
If you score the goal that wins Liverpool the league or England the World Cup, do you have a special celebration prepared?
Yeah, I’ve got something up my sleeve, but I’ve gotta keep this one going for a little while longer, and then hopefully move on to something that’s a bit better.
Can you describe the new one? It’s not like Peter Crouch’s robot dance, is it?
No, definitely not. I can’t give you any hints, I’ll just say it’s going to be original.
With YouTube awash with fans ‘doing the Sturridge’, do you feel like it no longer belongs to you?
Oh no, it belongs to me. It will be trademarked – it has to be. It’s now getting to the point where I’m getting taken advantage of…
You’re a bit of a gastronaut, what is the perfect meal for a first date?
Don’t microwave any food and make out like you cooked it, that’s rule No1. Rule No2: if you’re a really bad cook, don’t cook. The effort’s not worth it, because she might not like it.
And rule No3?
Get a takeaway and admit it was a takeaway. Be truthful, don’t lie.
Finally, what did you make of Steven Gerrard saying his favourite type of cheese is ‘melted’?
In his defence, the cheese toasties at training are really nice, so I can only agree with him. I don’t know what cheese they use, but it’s definitely melted.
What’s your cheese of choice, any advance on melted?
Cheddar, innit [laughs].
Sturridge led a squad of fans in a Call Of Duty: Ghosts tournament at the IndigO2. Call Of Duty: Ghosts is out now; callofdutytime.com