It’s been a bit of a storm in a tea cup this one. Many believe that Raheem Sterling’s omission from England’s latest game stems from the injury that Daniel Sturridge suffered on international duty in September. That hamstring string pull left Liverpool without their star man for over a month and Reds boss Brendan Rodgers clearly wasn’t happy.
But the Liverpool boss was adamant, in his latest press conference, that he had nothing to do with Sterling’s declaration that he was tired, before England’s game against Estonia on Tuesday.
Liverpool aren’t doing particularly well this season and it’s obvious that Rodgers would be concerned about further injuries to his top players. But he made it clear that he didn’t tell Sterling to pull out.
I’ve read we sent dossiers to the FA [Football Association] on Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge and I’m having showdown talks with Roy Hodgson on Sunday and all sorts of rubbish. The decision not to play him was a managerial decision. I haven’t said a single word…
So if this complaint of fatigue was genuine and came solely from Sterling should we be concerned about the young star? He may be suffering with a bit of a World Cup hangover even though England whimpered out of the tournament after three games.
And this is, of course, a high intensity player in a high intensity sport. But can you imagine Wayne Rooney complaining of fatigue before an England game? Not a chance.
Perhaps their bodies respond differently and, at 19 years of age, Sterling is still growing into a man.
The most salient factor should be the long term health of the player. We, in England, put a huge amount of pressure on young footballers to perform at the top level before their bodies are fully developed. This guy needs to be managed properly because, with the right treatment, he can become a genuine world star.
Hopefully England and Liverpool FC can keep the lines of communication open on this one to ensure the safe handling of a young gem.