Daniel Sturridge was able to soak up the “beautiful feeling” of scoring the late goal that clinched England a dramatic 2-1 win over Group B rivals Wales at Euro 2016.
Having fallen behind just before half time when Gareth Bale’s free-kick eluded goalkeeper Joe Hart, England manager Roy Hodgson opted to send on forwards Jamie Vardy and Sturridge at the break.
The brave double substitution paid off spectacularly as both men scored in the second half to turn the game around.
Vardy grabbed the equaliser from close range in the 56th minute before Sturridge broke Wales’ hearts with his injury-time strike, the Liverpool forward poking an effort beyond goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
“It’s unbelievable,” Sturridge told BBC Sport.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity from the gaffer. I’m also grateful to God for allowing me to score.
“It’s a beautiful feeling to represent your country in a rivalry against another great country.
“There’s only one more game in the group, so no one wants to get too excited. I’m certainly not getting too excited.
“But there are not many games where you get to experience an atmosphere like this, as well as the togetherness of the two countries.
“It’s great to help the boys win the game. Hopefully now we can go through.”
England now top the group on four points with a game to go against Slovakia – who defeated Russia 2-1 on Wednesday – in Saint-Etienne.
But, despite his heroics against Wales, Sturridge is unsure if he has done enough to earn a starting berth on Monday.
“That’s the gaffer’s decision. My job is to go out there and perform the best I can in every game,” he added.
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