Staying Sterling! Rodgers hoping to protect Liverpool starlet Raheem from overexposure
21:30 GMT, 5 September 2012
Brendan Rodgers has held talks with the FA to ensure Liverpool’s exciting protg Raheem Sterling does not suffer overexposure.
The 17-year-old’s emergence over the past month has captured the imagination and England Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce had given serious consideration to naming Sterling for the Euro 2013 double header against Azerbaijan and Norway.
Protection: Raheem Sterling has dazzled for Liverpool so far this season
However, after Rodgers spoke with Sir Trevor Brooking, it was decided Sterling would remain as part of the Under-19 squad that will play Germany in Hamburg tonight and the Liverpool manager is adamant the right decision has been made.
‘I think with young players you have to be careful,’ said Rodgers. ‘They can be elevated above their station too quickly. That is a part of it in this country. They have one good game and they get elevated into superstar status.
‘You then see them at 23 and 24 and wonder why they are not superstars any more. I spoke to Trevor Booking on the thoughts of where the FA believes Raheem is at. I said, in my opinion, of course he has got the ability to be in the Under-21s.
‘But I believe in many ways it is right for him to go with the Under-19s. He was involved with us on Sunday.
Future team-mates: Sterling was pitted against Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on Sunday
'He has met up with England squad now and travelled to play in Germany. It then allows him to come back and recover well before our next game at Sunderland.’
Rodgers had considered sending Sterling out on loan in July but such has been the transformation in his form that the winger has started the last two Barclays Premier League games against Manchester City and Arsenal.
His performances have been a rare high point for Rodgers in a tough few weeks but that will not stop him from pulling Sterling out of the spotlight if he believes his long-term development is in danger of being damaged.
‘It is all about individual needs,’ Rodgers continued. ‘It might look great on the back pages that he is involved in the Under-21s but the reality is that this is a kid who has made great strides over the last few weeks; he was absolutely fantastic through pre-season.
‘You have seen his quality, courage and attitude in games – it has been fantastic. But, for the moment, let’s just stay calm.’
Hopeful: Brendan Rodgers is hoping to protect his prized youngster from overexposure