England manager Roy Hodgson told media ahead of England’s game against Estonia on Sunday evening that Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling had complained of feeling tired, hence he was not included in the starting 11.
“Yesterday we trained but Raheem was complaining a little about being tired and was not at his best. So we won’t risk him and Lallana is in fine form,” Hodgson told ITV before the game.
Speaking on ITV immediately after, former England and Arsenal forward Ian Wright appeared sceptical that Sterling would complain of being tired, saying he had never known of a player telling a manager he felt tired.
It was an incredible claim from Hodgson, whether true or not, to hang out the player in such a public manner.
Of course, it’s extremely naive to believe Hodgson’s words as gospel. But that didn’t stop England fans from taking to social media to criticise Sterling:
A shame tonight that Raheem Sterling was too 'tired' to represent his country.
— talkFOOTBALL (@talkFOOTYBALL) October 12, 2014
Just can’t believe Sterling. Played 45 min on Thursday.
— Andy Goldstein MBE (@andygoldstein05) October 12, 2014
These people would be better off not believing Hodgson. This is, after all, a manager who previously decided to play Daniel Sturridge while injured to “test his resolve”.
Thankfully, there are some journalists who can see through the England manager’s words:
Sterling rested after saying he is tired. Or being told to say he was tired
— Matt Dickinson (@DickinsonTimes) October 12, 2014
I thought RH had better diplomacy, comments on sterling are very strange what's his agenda? Looks poor from an England manager.
— David Fairclough (@DFairclough12) October 12, 2014
The amount of times I see warnings of the dangers of burnout in young players yet when one says he's physically tired he gets pilloried.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) October 12, 2014
Incredibly, Hodgson had stated just 24 hours earlier that “It’s a question about man-management” regarding Sterling not being over used by club and country. Now he’s hung him out to dry with publicly claiming he had told he was tired.
It’s staggering that the England manager made such a statement. Rather than just state that it was his decision, as manager, to not start Sterling, instead he has deflected the blame onto the player. A typical cowardly Hodgson manoeuvre.
Adam Lallana replaced Sterling in the starting 11 for England.