Raheem Sterling is “an important cog in the wheel with so many skills,” said Roy Hodgson, who is helping the misfiring Man City star to shine for England at the Euros – despite his current 11 club-level drought
- Roy Hodgson made his English debut as a manager for Raheem Sterling in 2012
- Sterling is currently in a difficult scoring hunt in Manchester City
- He hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games and has been sent to the bench in big games
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has backed Raheem Sterling to play a key role for England at the Euros, despite firing another blank for Manchester City over the weekend.
After Saturday’s 2-0 win at Selhurst Park, the attacker saw his club-level goal stretched to eleven games.
Sterling’s indifferent form meant he stayed on the bench for City’s away win over Paris St. Germain mid-week and was unable to make optimal use of his starting place in London.
Raheem Sterling was supported to get the late euros out of his funk for England
Hodgson made the 26-year-old’s international debut as manager of the Three Lions in 2012 and is convinced that the winger will remain a key figure for England manager Gareth Southgate next month’s next euro change.
“I’m a huge fan of Raheem, I think he’s a good player,” said Hodgson. ‘It is a wonderful position when you are Pep Guardiola and you think you have other players that you prefer to Raheem.
“But I’m pretty sure about England that he will still be an important player and an important cog in the wheel because he has so many skills.”
‘The skills he possesses and the ability to beat people, hold goalscoring positions, score and create opportunities are hard to find.
‘And one great quality that Raheem has and that I’ve always admired about him is that he’s not a player who stays up there waiting for the ball to come to him.
‘He makes sure he’s looking for it and if he loses it gets it back and plays an important role in the team’s defense work.
“These are things that, as coaches, we expect our players to do these days, but they are not always easy to get.”
Sterling kicked off City’s most recent Carabao Cup triumph at Wembley but missed three big chances against Palace and shot past early before slashing wide under pressure in the area and hitting the inside of the post from a tight angle later in the game.
The final effort summed up the fortunes of the former Liverpool striker who scored twice for England this season and found the net 13 times for City’s triple pursuit.
While he has more than doubled that record in each of the last two campaigns, Guardiola has warned Sterling to be ready for his next chance.
“He deserved to play in Paris, but it’s unfair if I leave out Phil (Foden) or Riyad (Mahrez) now. It’s hard for me. I justify my decisions and I don’t want to, ”the city administrator admitted.
‘Raheem has played exceptionally well in the last two games and has to be ready because we have a final and he may play many minutes from the start.
“Maybe everyone can play when we reach the Champions League final. That’s why the commitment over many years is there to be able to be where we have won all of these titles. ‘
After a comeback win at PSG last week, City will go into the semi-finals on Tuesday with the upper hand.
The Ligue 1 team could do without star striker Kylian Mbappe, who missed his 2-1 win over Lens on Saturday with a calf injury.
Despite the Manchester club having a one-goal lead, Guardiola will instruct their players to aim for another win.
He added, “We have to do our job on Tuesday and perform near perfect to make it to the final.
‘We play a team with the most talented players. It’s not just one, not just two, it’s three – even three and a half.
‘You can win the games in a single action. We have to play as a team with (an) incredible mentality to win. We have to be more aggressive to win the game. That is why the commitment is there for everyone. ‘