Raheem Sterling was left out of the England side that took on Estonia on Sunday evening in Tallinn, a game that ended 1-0 thanks to a Wayne Rooney free kick. Before the game, manager Roy Hodgson revealed that he had left out Sterling due to the youngster complaining of tiredness, allowing Adam Lallana to deputise.
Ever since Roy Hodgson’s comments regarding Sterling, the Liverpool starlet has come in for a lot of criticism for not wanting to play for his country. Twitter has been rife with complaints about Sterling, with many suggesting that he is a professional athlete and shouldn’t be tired this early in the season. A ‘Tired Sterling’ account has even been set up on Twitter, poking fun at the 19 year old. Despite the criticism, too much has been made of Sterling’s request for a rest.
Burnout is a problem for all top footballers in all countries. England have gone into many major tournaments with key players suffering from burnout, thus hindering our chance of success. Joachim Low has recently complained that some of his German stars are suffering from playing too much football and that his side ‘used to be the hunter, now we are the prey’ due to their inability to play to their maximum. Germany recently fell to a 2-0 defeat to Poland in a Euro 2016 qualifier.
Some ex-pros have stood up in defence of Raheem Sterling, one being Jamie Carragher, who claimed that many young players suffer a lot of injuries because they have played too much football, using Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler as examples. Maybe Sterling was thinking of his own health when he told the manager that he was ‘too tired’ to play against Estonia?
It was also a decision that was in the best interest of the national side. We could have been looking at a very different result had England started with Sterling at 70% instead of a 100% fit Adam Lallana, who was certainly an adequate replacement. My only criticism of the situation is that Roy Hodgson should have kept Sterling’s comments between him and the player, rather than airing them to the press to prey at. Sterling should not be made a victim for looking after his body.