World Cup Russia 2018


Gerrard: Sterling deserves England call

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Football News

Steven Gerrard says that Raheem Sterling's impressive start to the new campaign has warranted his England call-up, but warned his Liverpool team-mate that he must continue to work hard in order to fulfil his undoubted potential.

The 17-year-old winger was brought in alongside Tottenham's Jake Livermore and Southampton's Adam Lallana to fill the void in Roy Hodgson's injury-ravaged squad for Tuesday's World Cup qualifying clash against Ukraine at Wembley.

And, while Gerrard approves of Sterling's rapid rise to prominence, the Reds captain has warned the youngster he must heed the advice of club manager Brendan Rodgers, stay grounded and retain his focus.

"I think he deserves this call up," said the skipper. "I think the impact he has made has been sensational. He has been one of our shining lights.

"The results that we have had so far this season haven't been good enough, but he has still stood out and his performances have been really good.

"I think the important thing now is that he keeps his feet on the ground, keeps learning and keeps trying to find a consistency in his game.

"I don't think it will be very long before he's in the England set-up for real. The (England) manager is going to be picking him as a regular because he is that kind of talent.

"The young lads (who have been called up) are fantastic talents. I think it is important to be patient with them because they have all the tools.

"Let's not build them up and put too much pressure on them. Let them just progress and become good players naturally."

Quizzed about his decision to call-up Sterling - a player who is yet to even feature at under-21 level - Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson, who worked with the teenager during his brief stint at Anfield, explained: "I met Raheem a couple of years ago at Liverpool.

"He actually played a few minutes of a game against Monchengladbach in the pre-season. But of course in the last two years, he has come on in leaps and bounds.

"Stevie (Gerrard) will know him very well and quite frankly in the opening matches he has played, reports on him have been very good. So this was an opportunity just to bring him into the group.

"I shall make it clear to him that I'm not necessarily bringing him in with a view to playing him now. I'm bringing him in because there might be a time in the future when, not only does he feature as a substitute, he might even be breaking his way into the team.

"(With players leaving the squad) I thought it was a great opportunity to invite some younger players to come in and be part of the atmosphere.

"I still think we have enough players to deal with the game but it's good to be able to invite these young players to come and be around here for a short period of time."

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Steven Gerrard

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