Raheem Sterling is under-fire from fans of the English national team.
That’s because England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that Sterling, 19, asked to be rested for England’s 1-0 win away at Estonia on Sunday after stating he was exhausted.
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The 19-year-old Liverpool winger approached Hodgson on the eve of the EURO 2016 qualifier in Tallinn and according to Hodgson said: “I’m feeling tired, I’d rather sit this one out.”
Speaking to reporters after the game about Sterling’s decision to declare himself not ready to start, here’s what Hodgson had to say.
“He broke into the Liverpool team, had a fantastic season and then went to the World Cup. He is only a 19-year-old,” Hodgson said. “It is not as simple as the training you are having may be taking a bit of juice from your legs. There is an awful lot going on in your head as well, so perhaps it is quite simply that the season has not started as well for Liverpool, and he is in the spotlight for England and Liverpool. Maybe that has had some effect. I don’t know. It’s a theory.”
Sterling’s honesty is admirable but there are a few other factors to look at here.
As Hodgson said, all of a sudden the teenage winger is the next great hope of Liverpool and the English national team and the mental toughness that is needed to perform week in, week out, at his age is something which will take time to handle properly. Sterling has also been repeatedly linked with big money moves to Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea over the past week or so, as he continues contract negotiations with Liverpool over a new deal at Anfield. The kid has a lot on his mind. Also with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers previously hitting out at the English national team about how they treated Daniel Sturridge during his recent injury on international duty, perhaps there was some pressure from the Reds for Sterling to be saved from picking up a similar knock. Who knows.
It is a stressful, tumultuous and demanding time in the life of young Raheem Sterling. But, has he dealt with this issue admirably? What do you think?
Sterling jumped off the bench in Tallinn in the 64th minute and won a late free kick which Wayne Rooney scored the game-winning goal from. However his self-proclamation of being tired hasn’t sat well with vast swathes of England’s supporters who are starting to question his commitment to the cause.