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Rodgers defends Sterling, denies England rift

17 October 2014, 19:25

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers came to the defence of Raheem Sterling on Friday but said there was no breach between himself and England manager Roy Hodgson.

The 19-year-old forward found himself under fire after Hodgson revealed the teenager had told him he was tired ahead of England's Euro 2016 qualifier in Estonia.

Sterling was on the bench for that match, but came on to win the free-kick from which Wayne Rooney scored England's only goal in a 1-0 victory.

Hodgson's comments led to accusations that Sterling had been reluctant to play for England.

However, Rodgers said Friday: "I've obviously read and listened to a lot of what has been said.

"He (Sterling) has been absolutely incredible for me and what has been nice to see is his maturity as a young man; he's 19, a full international and he will hopefully be a key player for England and Liverpool for many years," added Rogers, who congratulated Hodgson's side on their two recent qualifying wins over San Marino and Estonia.

"This is a kid we bring up to be responsible and honest -- lots of players will tell you they haven't played when they haven't felt right but this is a kid who didn't say that," explained Rodgers.

"What he was saying was he felt tired. I've had it a number of times here with Raheem where he has been tired in his legs but he has gone on to play in games and be exceptional," the Northern Irishman said.

Read also: Del Bosque to quit Spain job after Euro 2016

"You have to respect Roy's decision that he decided not to play him and play Adam Lallana.

"What has been disappointing in the whole affair is it has been grossly unfair how the kid has been put on the back pages for something he clearly did not say."

Hodgson also queried the worth of Liverpool's use of a 48-hour recovery programme for the likes of 'fast' players such as Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, who has not played since sustaining a thigh injury in an England training session last month.

"Roy is a manager with great experience who has been around the game long enough and all managers deal with situations different. I am not here to make any comment on that," Rodgers added.

"One thing to clear up is this second-day recovery: people are looking at it thinking Liverpool players are sat at home with their feet up on the couch.

"The recovery is different for each individual player but our second day of recovery is a technical session outside and the key in that session is the intensity and density of the session -- the spaces are very small which still allows me to do the technical and tactical work required.

"That has worked for me right the way through my life and in my time here I believe helped Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger, when he was here, to play the games they did.

"We ask our players to be responsible when they go on international duty to only think of their country and not their clubs, so this is a club which is very much club and country, not club versus country.

"We (Rodgers and Hodgson) have exchanged messages but because of the busy schedules we have not been able to speak. That is fine."

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