England maintained their perfect record in the Euro 2016 qualifiers as the Three Lions edged past Estonia thanks to Wayne Roney’s sublime free kick. However Roy Hodgson’s comments on Raheem Sterling proved to be a dampener. The England coach revealed that Sterling had complained about fatigue on the eve of the game. The 19 year old reportedly said, “I’m feeling tired, I’d rather sit this one out.”
Sterling’s admittance is understandable. The youngster has featured regularly for Liverpool and England and a physical burnout was inevitable. Sterling though came on for the last 25 minutes and won the free-kick from which Rooney scored.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers too decided to keep Sterling on the bench recently in the Reds’ shock 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at home. Hodgson’s comments however are absolutely irresponsible. Former Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher blasted the 67 year old.” I think Roy Hodgson could have been a bit more careful with what he said before the game and after the game, and we wouldn’t be having these discussions now.”
Carragher also acknowledged that Sterling has played too much football over the past one year and that England need to be careful to handle the player. “I’ve mentioned it myself, that we’ve got to be careful with Raheem Sterling burning out.”
Carragher’s views hits the hammer right on the nail. The Three Lions earlier endured Micheal Owen and Robbie Fowler’s niggling injuries during their prime which cost the national side dearly. “You think of players in the past – I played with two of the best young players you’ll ever see in Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler. They had a lot of injuries when they got to 23, 24, and a lot of it comes from too much football.”
However this is not the first time that Hodgson has come on the limelight for mis-managing his player. Rodgers was earlier unhappy over how Daniel Sturridge was handled in the national camp a few weeks ago. Subsequently the striker was ruled out for three weeks after the 25 year old participated in intense training sessions, despite not being in his perfect physical condition.
This throws up the old debate of club vs country. Top players from different clubs are regularly called for International duties, wherein they might pick up an injury which ultimately hampers the club which pays the wages to the player. Having said that, is there a solution to the problem?