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Nov 9, 2012

Rodgers: Sterling deserved England call

Brendan Rodgers feels Raheem Sterling "thoroughly deserved" his call-up for the England squad to face Sweden on Wednesday.

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• Premier League Spotlight

Sterling, 17, has only started nine league games in his brief club career but could make his England debut in Stockholm.

The Jamaican-born winger was an unused substitute for the Three Lions' 1-1 draw with Ukraine on September 14 after being picked for the senior squad before he had made his debut for the Under-21s, and now Roy Hodgson has selected him for a second time.

Sterling has become an automatic choice for Rodgers this season - even though he had not begun a first-team game until August.

And the Liverpool manager said: "It's a great effort by him. He has been fantastic this season since he has broken in to the team so he thoroughly deserves his call-up even though he is so young. I am delighted for him and for all the hard work he has put in."

Rodgers laughed off a suggestion that Sterling, who was rested for Thursday's Europa League defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala, could benefit more from a week off than a trip to Sweden.

"He's 17 years of age and he will have plenty of time off later in his career," the Northern Irish boss said. "He has got a good head on his young shoulders and I know he is looking forward to it."

Sterling has become more important to Liverpool with Fabio Borini injured and Rodgers unable to sign a striker on August's transfer deadline day.

But the former Swansea manager believes additions will arrive in January, saying: "I am confident we will be able to reinforce the group. We know we need to give the group some help and I am sure we will do that. The quicker we can do that the better and that will certainly be the aim."

However, he said no deals are in the pipeline yet.

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