Hodgson: Sterling needs thick skin

Published: Sunday 7th June 2015 by The News Editor

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England manager Roy Hodgson is concerned that Raheem Sterling is not currently tough enough to deal with the abuse he gets from the sidelines.

The Liverpool fans in the home end of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin made their feelings about Sterling known on Sunday during England’s dull 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland.

The 20-year-old, who is in the middle of a prolonged contract dispute with Liverpool, was booed every time he touched the ball and was substituted in the 65th minute following a poor display.

Hodgson has no doubts about Sterling’s ability on the pitch, but the England manager is concerned the forward is not capable of handling the stick that comes his way from the terraces.

“I think he’s going through a bad time publicly,” Hodgson said.

“You can’t expect people just to shrug off the criticism he has been receiving.

“He does ever so well and tries well to shrug it off, let his football do the talking. He needed this game to realise that, if he is going to get it out of his system, he’s going to have work harder still and get a thicker skin than he has at the moment.”

Sterling shot wide from inside the box in the second half and offered little to England’s attack throughout the game.

It does not sound like Hodgson is considering dropping him for Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Slovenia.

“I have no reservations (about Sterling). I trust him,” Hodgson said. “But players are not robots. He’s done some fantastic things for us, but today he didn’t hit those heights.

“It’ll take a lot before I and the English national team sway from Raheem Sterling.

“We only took him off today was to give others the game, to air the squad.”

Liverpool cancelled contract talks with Sterling during the final week of the season after his representative Aidy Ward allegedly told the London Evening Standard his client would not sign a new contract with the club even if they offered him £900,000 a week.

Jordan Henderson has backed his Liverpool team-mate to ride out the storm and emerge a better player.

“He is so strong-minded, and it will make him a stronger person and make him better,” said the midfielder, who won his 21st England cap in Dublin on Sunday.

“He will concentrate on doing his best for the team. He did that today, trying to create things and get on the ball all the time. Hopefully he can do the same next week.

“He deals with it (the abuse) very well. I don’t think he lets that bother him at all.”

Published: Sunday 7th June 2015 by The News Editor

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