17 October 2014 16:08
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is eager to put an end to the Raheem Sterling tiredness saga.
Liverpool forward Sterling dropped to the bench for England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia last Sunday after informing national team boss Roy Hodgson that he was struggling with fatigue.
The teenager has come in for criticism since the 1-0 win in Tallinn, but Liverpool manager Rodgers hit back by making it clear that Sterling had not refused to play.
Hodgson called into question Liverpool’s policy of not allowing players to train fully until three days after a game and there were reports that he was keen to hold talks with Rodgers at Sunday’s Premier League clash with QPR.
Rodgers said on Friday that he has been in touch with Hodgson and denied talk of a club versus country row as he called for an end to the debate over Sterling.
He said at a press conference: “Firstly I’d like to congratulate England on their two wins because that’s been overshadowed with the news on Raheem.
“I have obviously read a lot and listened to what’s been said, we want to move on from the situation with Raheem.
“I’m fortunate to have worked with a brilliant young player like Raheem over the past two years, he has been incredible for me. He’s a wonderful talent, he’s a kid we’ve brought up to be honest and responsible. All he said was that he was tired.
“It’s been grossly unfair that the kid has been put on the back pages on something he didn’t say. I’ve had it a number of times here were he has been tired and gone to play and be exceptional.
“I read people talking about club v country. I take great pride in players playing for their country. We have many internationals. We are club and country here, not club v country. Liverpool are no barrier to England.
“Roy and I have exchanged messages, we want to put this to bed and move on, and concentrate on looking after a huge talent.”
Rodgers also stated that demands of playing at the top level is bound to have an effect on players and warned that young players need to be looked after.
“It doesn’t surprise me the amount of players that are tired because of the intensity that they play at.” he said.
“Too many miles on the clock of a young player will break him.”
Rodgers revealed that striker Daniel Sturridge will be assessed on Saturday to determine whether he is available to return at Loftus Road on Sunday following a spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury.
Midfield duo Joe Allen [knee] and Emre Can [ankle] will return to the squad for the clash with Harry Redknapp’s side, while Dejan Lovren could also be in contention after suffering an abdominal injury on international duty with Croatia.