Sterling set for England start against Italy

England manager Roy Hodgson has hinted that Raheem Sterling may start in their World Cup opener against Italy, ESPN reports.

Sterling was sent off in the draw with Ecuador on Wednesday and will miss the game against Honduras but Hodgson claimed that he could cause damage in Brazil. “He’s good enough to face Italy. He’s going to cause a lot of teams some serious damage. He really is an exceptional player.”

The England manager also praised Sterling’s reaction to the red card, “His reaction to the red card has been excellent. He was unstoppable at times in training, some of the things he did out there were breathtaking and he’s not going to lose any fitness.”

Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard escorted the 19 year old off the pitch on Wednesday and he said of Sterling: “He’s very resilient. He was the best player in training this morning.”

Hodgson had planned to start the Liverpool winger against Honduras but stated that the fact he will miss the game does not affect his chances of playing in the first team when the tournament starts.

Sterling made 38 appearances for Liverpool and was instrumental to their second place finish with 10 goals and seven assists.

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