England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed he has spoken with Raheem Sterling and told him to keep his head against Uruguay in today’s World Cup fixture, ESPN
Sterling was dismissed for a lunge against Ecuador in a pre-tournament friendly, a decision with which Hodgson confirmed he agreed. Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia was the victim but also saw red for his reaction.
Hodgson said Valencia’s response was understandable and made no excuses for Sterling’s challenge. “I’ve had a word with Raheem, of course,” Hodgson said. “I’ve got to say I thought it was a very reckless challenge and under the current interpretation he deserved to be sent off.
“He didn’t do it maliciously. We all know that,” the manager added. “He’d just come on the field, was bursting with energy and flew into this challenge. To be frank I had every sympathy with Antonio Valencia. We were a week away from the World Cup and he was a victim of that sort of tackle. He’s a human being and I don’t think anybody could have turned his back on that and smiled it off.”
Hodgson also said Sterling realised he was in the wrong and feels it could be for the best that the red card was shown in a friendly, not a competitive match. “Raheem was devastated by it, devastated that his exuberance caused that situation,” Hodgson said. “In some ways you could argue it was a nice early lesson for us. He won’t do it again.”
Sterling started England’s opening game, the 2-1 defeat to Italy, playing behind Daniel Sturridge in a three-man supporting attack that also featured Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.