Sterling offered ‘incredible’ deal


Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling’s agents the club will not be held to ransom over his new contract.

The Reds boss said the 20-year-old has been made an “incredible” offer on a new deal, which has been on the table for over a month.

However, Sterling is yet to sign despite indications previously an agreement was imminent, but Rodgers said the club had been generous in their offer.

“The club has offered an incredible deal for a young player and I have spoken to Raheem a number of times and he is very happy here and I think you see that in his game,” said Rodgers.

“The player is very happy and wants to continue working the way he has been.

“He has made some great strides in these last couple of years and has now got reward for that and hopefully his representatives can find agreement with the club.

“What he has been granted here is an opportunity – we see it with lots of young players – and they get rewarded for that but we are certainly not a club who are going to give out way, way above what a player is worth at a certain time in a career.

“It is not a case of giving any player, I’m not talking about Raheem here I’m talking in general, what they want.

“We want to reward our best talents as they are a big part of our future and we are confident that will all be in hand and sorted very soon.”

Rodgers has nurtured Sterling through a difficult period off the pitch over the last couple of years, when he found himself embroiled in a couple of court cases, and has been rewarded with some impressive performances from the youngster.

However, he has been keen to keep the England international grounded during what has been a rapid rise which saw him go to last summer’s World Cup.

And Rodgers wants to ensure he and other youngsters do not get distracted by the trappings of fame and fortune.

“It is very important for young players, not just Raheem, that they have something to strive for,” he added.

“If they get too much, too young then it really sabotages their development.

“That is why we communicate with the player and their advisers – if they have advisers.

“If they are given sound advice they will see that. It is about mapping out the career of a player, it is not just about this deal.

“In Raheem’s case we believe this will be the best place for him and I believe he knows that as well.

“His value and worth is very important to us but also you leave something for them to progress on to the next level and for all young players that is important.”

Another youngster Jordon Ibe shares the same birthday, albeit a year younger, as Sterling and parallels have already been drawn between the two.

Ibe was man of the match in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, only his second Premier League start, and Rodgers has high hopes he can make similar progress to his fellow youngster.

“He is a very talented player. If he was a foreign player everyone would be raving about him,” he added.

“He is an incredible talent for someone so young and he can go into any arena in the world and play now.

“Hopefully that game will fast-track his development as it has a number of our younger players in the last two years.

“I expect big things from him but there is still a long way to go and a lot to learn but hopefully he could be a big influence for us.”

Rodgers also plans to keep a close eye on Ibe, although he admits his treatment has not been the same as Sterling’s.

“Each player is different. You can’t throw a blanket over them and say he is the same,” he said.

“Jordon is at an earlier stage and his pathway has been different – I felt he needed to go out on loan (to Birmingham and Derby) whereas Raheem went straight into the team.

“The objective is to maximise the potential and investment of the club so they can both play for Liverpool for many years to come.

“I know Jordon has the talent so it’s a job to make sure they (younger players) know they have to continue to improve and not get carried away.”

Ibe may well have to settle for a place on the bench for Tuesday’s visit of top-four rivals Tottenham, but midfielder Lucas Leiva is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a thigh problem.

“He is one that will miss a little bit of time, we are just waiting on the exact results of the scan,” said the Reds boss.

Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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