'University guys have done crazier things' – Liverpool striker Sturridge defends Balotelli

The England striker says his Anfield team-mate, who has been widely criticised this season, attracts a lot of unfair attention and criticism and “ends up getting stereotyped”

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has defended under-fire team-mate Mario Balotelli, insisting he is “just a regular young guy” and that a lot of people his age have done “crazier things”.

Sturridge has not featured for the Reds since the 3-0 win against Tottenham on August 31 – Balotelli’s debut for the club – due to injury.

The Italian has attracted widespread criticism for his poor form since then, as well as for swapping shirts at half-time of the Champions League clash against Real Madrid, but Sturridge says he gets a lot of unfair criticism and attention.

“Mario is really cool and I get along with him – I enjoy working with him,” he told The Mirror.

“But everyone says similar things about him like he is wild and then he ends up getting stereotyped.

“He is under the microscope and he is at that level where he is known around the world and he does get scrutinised.

“I think the average 24-year-old or guys who go to university who are a little younger will have done a lot crazier things than him.

“Everyone makes mistakes and has flaws – he is just finding his way.”

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