Hodgson: Sterling ‘too tired’


The young winger was one of the few England players to emerge from the World Cup with his reputation enhanced.

But Hodgson only gave Sterling 45 minutes in Thursday’s win over San Marino and then started the teenager on the bench for the 1-0 victory in Tallinn on Sunday.

Hodgson revealed Sterling approached him at England’s training base in Hertfordshire the day before the Estonia match and complained of feeling tired.

“We were just about to have a light session at the Grove and he said, ‘I feel tired and I don’t think I am in my best form at the moment’,” Hodgson said.

“I admire his honesty for telling me. It was two days after the San Marino game when we did a lot of running then because we had a lot of the ball.

“I had two players – one was telling me he is tired, a little bit jaded. And the other (Adam Lallana) is full of beans so we put the one on that is full of beans and left the other as sub.”

Sterling did come on for Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson in the 63rd minute in Tallinn, but did not impress too much as England struggled to record a victory that eventually came when Wayne Rooney scored a free-kick.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers recently spoke about fears of burnout for Sterling, whom he rested for the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last month.

Hodgson was happy to rest the teenager for the win at the A. Le Coq Arena, but he thinks the Reds boss should also consider giving the player a break so he can get back to his best.

When asked whether he, rather than Rodgers, should always be the one who rests Sterling to help him recover, Hodgson said: “I would hope not.

“I don’t think that’s fair. We do have to take players’ workload into consideration, and there are going to be times in top league teams where players suffer from some sort of physical and mental fatigue, but I think it’s a bit unfair if all the expectations to give the player a little bit of a break fall on my shoulders.

“He broke into the Liverpool team, had a fantastic season and then went to the World Cup. He is only a 19-year-old.

“It is not as simple as the training you are having may be taking a bit of juice from your legs.

“There is an awful lot going on in your head as well, so perhaps it is quite simply that the season has not started as well for Liverpool, he is in the spotlight for England and Liverpool… Maybe that has had some effect. I don’t know. It’s a theory.”

Estonia played with 10 men for the final 43 minutes because of a red card for captain Ragnar Klavan but they absorbed the pressure – until Rooney’s intervention.

Hodgson’s opposite number Magnus Pehrsson was surprised England looked so blunt in attack.

The Estonia coach said: “In the second half it felt as though England were not dangerous. I was surprised and quite happy they weren’t.”

Pehrsson believes his skipper was unlucky to be dismissed for fouls on Danny Welbeck and Fabian Delph either side of half-time.

“I disagree with the first yellow card. It was really harsh,” he said. “We played against England, but we didn’t get any help today.”