England manager Roy Hodgson has hailed Raheem Sterling for forcing his way back into a “devastating” Liverpool team, but warned that club form does not always translate to the international game.
Hodgson has rewarded Sterling, 19, for his impressive displays for the Reds of late by including him in his squad for the upcoming friendly against Denmark on March 5.
And the Three Lions boss was full of praise for a Liverpool side that has also provided Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Glen Johnson and Jordan Henderson to his 30-man squad.
“Raheem was with us for one of the games we played last year, early on. He’s a player I know from Liverpool but after bursting into the team and doing very well he disappeared for a while, but it’s great to see him back stronger than ever.
“I’m sure if we spoke to [Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers he would say that’s just a normal progression for a young player. Sometimes you do burst onto the scene and after half a dozen games it gets a bit much and you have to take them out for a while.”
Sticking with club football, Hodgson also touched on the underwhelming performances of the Premier League sides in the Champions League and Europa League in recent weeks, with all six clubs failing to win their first-leg ties.
“I’m disappointed for them because I know how serious they take it and I know how difficult defeat is to bare with the rise in expectations but I think we have to divorce club football from international football,” he said.
“A player who is not having a good time at his club individually or collectively has to accept that he has to get his England head on and make that his focus. The opposite is also true, so a player who is playing well for his club side, like the Liverpool players, they have to come to terms with the fact that they start afresh when they come to England.
“Hopefully they will bring their confidence and form with them, but it’s two different things. Let’s hope they can put any disappointments behind them or dampen down any euphoria.”
Hodgson, meanwhile, stated that any players not selected in his 30-man squad should not be too disappointed just yet.
“That’s a message I’m keen to put over,” he said. “It would be very foolish in March to put over a definitive 30-man squad. This is a 30-man squad chosen today and I will stand by that but this isn’t a definitive squad.
“I would be sad if someone came to me if I didn’t put him in the 23 at the end because they were in the 30. Or anyone who I might want to take who’s not in this 30, I’m entitled to do that.
“Andy Carroll has barely played but we will keep an eye on him. [Adam] Johnson we know but with the competition we have at the moment we’ve decided not to put him in this squad. [Gareth] Barry is a player who has not been with us for two years but he’s playing well and I wouldn’t be averse to calling on him if I thought there was a place in the team.
“I really hope people aren’t going to see this and say: ‘well there’s 30, some will drop out and the rest will remain and go to Brazil.’ I’m not prepared to give that guarantee and anyone who thinks that’s going to happen could find themselves disillusioned.”