Ahead of a clamour for established stars to feature in his England U21s side at the European Championships this summer, Gareth Southgate has ruled out Raheem Sterling.
England U21s manager Southgate was speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live when he announced that the Liverpool forward would not be selected as part of hissquad for this summer’s European U21 Championships in the Czech Republic.
There have been calls of late for those eligible stars that have broken through to the senior England side to be included, with Harry Kane declared available earlier this week.
Sterling won’t be one of those players.
“There is a bit of it being about what is right for the development of the player, whether we think it is an experience that will benefit them,” Southgate said, explaining the situation.
“Then there is whether there is a connection with the rest of the group, what the dynamic of the team is, it depends on whether we see them at first-team level.
“An example would be Raheem Sterling who we now feel is an established international and other countries have similar situations like that.”
Raheem Sterling: MotM vs Lithuania, Rating 10, Shots 3, Goals 1, Assists 1, Dribbles 11 @england pic.twitter.com/x56DgPSR1C
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 27, 2015
Sterling starred in England’s 4-0 victory at home to Lithuania on Friday night, grabbing a goal and an assist in a devastating attacking display.
The 20-year-old now has 14 senior international caps, and Southgate believes he should be considered one of Europe’s youthful elite.
“Germany have [Julian] Draxler for example who could play, but will now be with their seniors for certain.
“In France, [Paul] Pogba is eligible at that age group, but he’s moved through that, every country has similar scenarios with their very top players and we’ll make a judgement call on each of those.
“Realistically, Raheem has become a very important player for the senior team and for Liverpool.
“There is a huge demand on him. Part of my role is looking at the development of individuals and I’m not convinced another tournament in the summer would be right for him.”
One man who will no doubt be happy with this decision is Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, who has looked to protect his young star from fatigue in the past.
Sterling has played 2,419 minutes so far this season, more than any other U21s player in the Premier League.
Is Gareth Southgate right to rule Raheem Sterling out of contention for England U21s? Let us know in the comments below.