England coach Roy Hodgson was forced to defend Raheem Sterling after admitting that the Liverpool player had been left out of England’s starting line-up for their 1-0 win in Estonia because he was ”a little tired” despite playing only 45 minutes in the previous game against San Marino.
Hodgson said Sterling, 19, complained about fatigue on the ever of the game. Although admitting it was unusual for a player of 19 to complain about fatigue in October, he went on to praise Sterling’s honesty.
The England manager is aware that Sterling has left himself open to criticism, at an international level when there are so many good players trying to get their hands on the shirt but doesn’t think you should keep hold of it when maybe you are feeling you’re not at your best. Hodgson went on to say it would be wrong to players to try to fool him into thinking they are ready and 100% when they aren’t because they are robbing somebody else of an opportunity.
Sterling came on in the 64th minute for club-mate Jordan Henderson, and was fouled for the free-kick that England captain Wayne Rooney curled into the bottom right-hand corner to maintain England’s 100% record after three games in Group E.
The teenager has already been rested by club manager Brendan Rodgers this campaign for the league match against Aston Villa in September.