England manager Roy Hodgson maintains there are no issues with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers over whether Daniel Sturridge would have been fit enough for international duty.
The Reds striker has become an important part of the senior squad, but has been hampered by injuries this season, the latest being a calf problem. He has not played since he strained a thigh muscle just before England’s clash with Switzerland in September.
Hodgson left a message for Rodgers about Sturridge’s fitness ahead of naming his squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia and friendly in Scotland.
Asking about the prospect of calling up Sturridge, Hodgson said on Thursday: “That was never a realistic possibility. He is still recovering from the calf injury he picked up.
“It is unfortunate. We were hoping, of course, to get him back, but it hasn’t worked out. “Our medical staff have had contact.
“I have left a message for Brendan. The message was that it is pretty obvious that Daniel is not fit, and Brendan’s not rung back to counter that he actually is.”
Hodgson stressed nothing untoward should be read into the lines of communication between national team manager and club boss. “I left a message for him only last night. Basically it was to tell him that I understood Daniel Sturridge was not fit and there was no need to call me back,” Hodgson added.
“It was just to let him know I understood Daniel Sturridge was not fit for these games, so in any questions I was going to get today then the answers I was going to give he would understand them and be happy with, hopefully.”
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is included in the squad, having been left out of England’s starting line-up for last month’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Estonia. Hodgson revealed Sterling had told him he was tired, which led to accusations the 19-year-old had said he did not want to play.
Those claims have been refuted by Hodgson, who stressed again on Thursday Sterling has been “unfairly treated”.
Asked if he has spoken to Sterling about the media fall-out, Hodgson said: “I speak to Raheem all of the time.
“As far as I am concerned, I had a chat with him, which was an unfortunate one, it is over and I have nothing to say or to add to all of the things which have been said so far.
“My personal view was he has been unfairly treated, I am disappointed for him and he knows that, but our relationship’s a very, very good one.
“If you say there is things to learn, we will probably both learn from them, although I don’t really understand how it is a clear mistake to tell the truth when you are asked questions about why you have not chosen a player.
“He did nothing wrong and I have got to be honest I don’t think I did anything wrong either.
“Other people might have other opinions.” Hodgson added: “I have basically said already more than I wanted to say.
“It is a chapter which as far as I am concerned is a month old, it lasted a week, a lot was done in that week, but I am really interested in the present and the future.
“All I can say is I have great respect for Raheem Sterling.
“I agree with Steven Gerrard – I think he is going to do wonderful things for England in the future, and I am very happy that our relationship has been extremely good and will continue to be extremely good going forwards.”