Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has refuted any claims that the club may have put pressure on England head coach Roy Hodgson to leave Raheem Sterling out of this week’s qualifying match with Estonia, reports Sky
Jamaica born Sterling played only the first half of England’s previous game against San Marino, but he complained of tiredness and was not selected to start the tricky away tie in Estonia a few days later.
With some sections of the media claiming that Sterling had asked not to play, rather than simply informing staff of his tiredness, his club manager Rodgers was quick to defend him and deny any rift between the Liverpool and England camps.
“I’m fed up reading about this club v country, claims we intervened and put pressure on Roy Hodgson. I’ve read we sent dossiers to the FA on Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge and I’m having showdown talks with Roy Hodgson on Sunday and all sorts of rubbish,” said Rodgers, indicating that Hodgson had the last say on international selection matters. “The decision not to play [Sterling] was a managerial decision. I haven’t said a single word but have to say I have never seen such rubbish written over the past few days.”
Sterling first came to national attention when making a big money switch from Queens Park Rangers to Liverpool at the tender age of 15. He went on to light up the youth football scene with great things being promised, and so far his career has progressed as anticipated. He has so far made 88 appearances for the Reds, and established himself in Hodgson’s England squad before he has even left his teenage years.
Reiterating that Sterling was mature enough to be honest when he was not feeling up to his best, but that selection issues were decided by management alone, Rodgers continued: “Let me tell you, there have been at least five occasions in the past when Raheem has said he felt tired before games but he’s never refused to play. We have taken on board what he has said and taken a decision accordingly.
“I rested him against Aston Villa (13 September) and we lost the game. But it was our decision to do so – and our decision alone. Last season, he said he felt tired before the Manchester City game (13 April). We won 3-2 and he put in a man-of-the-match performance.
“The point I’m making is you have to take on board advice from your own people and make your own decision, right or wrong.”
Think you know your football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG’s tipster competition – £11,000 to be won monthly!