Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has dismissed claims that he did not want to play for England in a Euro 2016 qualifier last year because he was too tired.
Manager Roy Hodgson revealed that Sterling told him he was fatigued ahead of the final training session in the build-up to England’s game against Estonia in Tallinn last October.
Sterling did not start the Group E encounter but came on as a second-half substitute as Wayne Rooney’s late free-kick proved enough to earn England a 1-0 victory.
Sterling’s bit-part role led to accusations that the then Liverpool forward had said he did not want to play, but he insists nothing could be further from the truth.
“That was so crazy I don’t think that could happen again, for anyone,” the 20-year-old, who has 17 international caps, told the Guardian.
“The manager asked me a question and, being the person I am, I answered honestly. He asked me how I was feeling and I said I was OK but ‘my legs do feel a bit tired’.
“I never once said: ‘I don’t want to play’ or anything like that. He just asked me a general question and I was honest. I didn’t lie and say: ‘Oh yes, I feel 100 per cent,’ but at the same time I never said I didn’t want to play.
“Obviously, the manager changed his mind about me playing and probably based it on that conversation but I was just being honest.”