WATFORD (AFP) - Daniel Sturridge insists he never doubted his ability to make his mark at international level and highlights his January move to Liverpool as the catalyst for his emergence as England's in-form goalscorer.
Sturridge - in line to return to Roy Hodgson's England side against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday after missing last week's 2-0 friendly defeat by Chile with a thigh injury - joined Liverpool in a £12 million (S$24.1 million) move from Chelsea 11 months ago after failing to progress from the fringes of the Stamford Bridge first team.
Long tipped as an England star in the making, the 24-year-old has since blossomed on Merseyside after being handed a regular starting spot and a return of 23 goals in 33 appearances for club and country during 2013 tells its own story.
With the World Cup finals still seven months away, it already seems certain that, barring injury, Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will provide the focus of England's attack in Brazil next year.
The forward, who comes from an extended footballing family and admits people still confuse him with his now retired uncle Dean, a former Derby striker, is now delivering on the potential that persuaded Chelsea to lure the player from Manchester City in 2009 and justifying the self-belief he demonstrated when he first joined the London club.
And that, according to Sturridge, is down to him finally being given the opportunity to prove his quality, although he stressed he was "thankful" for his time with Chelsea.
"When you are a young player, sometimes you get misunderstood and that's probably the perception I gave everyone," Stuuridge told reporters at England's hotel in Watford, north of London, on Sunday.
"People were thinking 'he is saying this and he has not proved himself or not done anything to say what he's said'.
"In the past I have maybe not been given the opportunity to back-up what I have said. I am now being given the opportunity," explained Sturridge.
"If you have only 20 minutes, you can't show what you can do."