England manager Roy Hodgson believes Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is not yet world class.
The Three Lions face the South American nation for the next tie as both sides will be looking for a win to keep their hopes of progressing to the next stages of the tournament alive.
Suarez was ruled out for Uruguay’s first game, where they lost 3-1 to Costa Rica after taking a lead from Edinson Cavani’s penalty. The former Ajax man was picked up an injury during the training and he went under the knife to recover for the group stage fixtures.
The Premier League’s leading goal scorer is likely to be fit to face England on Thursday. However, Hodgson says he is still not in the same bracket and Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I think he will only be at that level when he shows it on this particular stage. He has got the potential. He is a wonderful footballer,” Hodgson said, as quoted by the Liverpool ECHO.
“But 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 really.”
“You can be a great player in your league but for the world to recognise you are one of the all-time greats you have got to do it at the World Cup,” England manager concluded.
England and Uruguay lost their respective Group D opening fixtures against Italy and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup last Saturday. A defeat for either side on Thursday at Sao Paulo is likely to end their summer tournament in Brazil even with one game in hand.
Hodgson would be hoping for his side to bounce back, while Uruguayan fans will be banking on Suarez to be fit against the crucial tie against England.