Liverpool midfielder Raheem Sterling is aiming for a regular starting berth next season in order to gain a place in England's World Cup squad.

Sterling was hoping to be part of Stuart Pearce's U21 squad that are due to take part in the European U21 Championship, using the tournament as a platform to impress England boss Roy Hodgson.

But injury curtailed his involvement both domestically and internationally, whilst Sterling insists he did not want the summer off, rather he was desperate to represent his country at a major tournament.

"I've never come across anyone like that" he told the Daily Mirror. "For me it's not about trying to get a summer off, it's about trying to prove to club and country that you can play football given any chance. Even if it was a friendly game I would want to play.

"But it's best for my long-term career for me not to go to the Euros this summer. It's disappointing because I would love to have gone and proved to the senior manager that I can play tournament football and he can judge me from there.

"The injury happened in an under-21 game. It was a dead leg and then it started bleeding. It got worse from there. Not being able to play the last part of the season was disappointing."

Sterling was disappointed not to play a part in Liverpool's end of season run-in, but he concedes that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was only trying to protect him in the long run.

"Everyone thought the manager was trying to rest me, but it was purely because of my conditioning and fitness," said Sterling. "So the manager has taken me out of the team. It's been disappointing, but it's best for my career."

Sterling believes Liverpool can improve on their seventh-place finish next season and on a personal level, the former QPR youngster is hoping to play a more prominent role to boost his international prospects.

"I want to hopefully get a regular place at Liverpool, get a good run of games and show the manager what I can do with goals and assists and things like that. It's exciting. I can see Liverpool doing really well next season.

"Since Brendan Rodgers has been at Liverpool, the better the football has been. Results weren't really going our way at the start of the season, but as the team grew you can see what he's brought to the club. I can't speak highly enough of him.

"If I can score more goals, contribute more assists and have a good season then hopefully I can make the squad for the World Cup in Rio next year."


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