Hodgson: Liverpool should share responsibility for Sterling fitness

England manager Roy Hodgson has said Liverpool have to take more responsibility for the fitness of Raheem Sterling after the winger complained of tiredness, ESPN has reported.

Hodgson and his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers were at odds over the handling of Daniel Sturridge during the previous international break and the fitness of Sterling has become a contentious issue after he was dropped for the win over Estonia, having told Hodgson he was tired.

Sterling played 45 minutes of the 5-0 win over San Marino a few days earlier and has played more football so far this season than he did by the same stage in the last campaign. Hodgson has said regarding the way Liverpool handle their players that it’s possible the club’s approach, giving the players two rest days, isn’t helping in the way it’s intended.

“Raheem might say it is something that is becoming ingrained in him and that he felt the need to talk about being tired more than he would normally do,” Hodgson said. “We have never had any problems with [Liverpool’s policy] but I don’t think there is a lot of medical evidence to support the two-day recovery so, if you want to, you might want to research that.

“Certainly the Germans, who everyone admires so much, they don’t do it, that is for certain. We did it from the start because we had people such as John Terry, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard who I felt would be better off having an extra day,” he continued.

“I would expect players not to take it for granted that there will be two-day recoveries. But on the other hand it could easily be like this time, when we did virtually nothing in terms of what I consider to be training the day after the San Marino game and only 40 minutes, including the warm-up, the day before the Estonia game, and that was at a fairly low-level intensity,” Hodgson said.

The former Liverpool boss also confirmed he would speak with Rodgers regarding the issue, defended England’s injury record under his management and hinted Liverpool need to shoulder more of the burden for their players’ perceived lack of fitness.

“I think I should speak to Brendan but it really is very simple and I am sure he understands the situation,” Hodgson said. “Our record over my two-and-a-half years has not been too bad in terms of looking after the players.

“We don’t send them back injured very often, though it is going to happen from time to time, and I think that is because we do have a very good medical and fitness staff and we do try to consider these things,” he argued. “But I thought there was a good question: am I the only one with that responsibility? Or does it have to be shared between club and country? I think it does.”

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