Hodgson issues challenge to Suarez

Cup Competitions

Rio de Janeiro - England boss Roy Hodgson raised the stakes ahead of Thursday's potentially do-or-die World Cup clash against Uruguay by insisting that Luis Suarez has yet to prove he's a world class striker.

The 27-year-old Liverpool star, voted Footballer of the Year for his Premier League performances, is set to return to the Uruguay team for the game in Sao Paulo after missing the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica with a knee injury.

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Uruguay's Luis Suarez exercises during a training session at Jacare stadium in Sete Lagoas, near Belo Horizonte. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

But despite receiving generous plaudits for his 31 goals in England last season, Hodgson believes the jury is still out on the Suarez legacy.

“You can be a great player in your league but to be recognised as one of the all-time greats you have got to do it at the World Cup,” said Hodgson.

“He has got the potential. He is a wonderful footballer.”

Like Copa America champions Uruguay, England were also losers in their Group D opener, downed 2-1 by Italy in steamy Manaus.

Those results have left both sides' hopes of qualification on a knife-edge, but Hodgson doesn't want his team to be distracted by the Suarez menace.

“If you are really going to put him up there with (Diego) Maradona, Pele, (Franz) Beckenbauer and (Johan) Cruyff and (Andrea) Pirlo, this is the stage you have got to do it on,” added Hodgson.


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