Steven Gerrard has hailed his Liverpool teammate Raheem Sterling ahead of this summer’s World Cup, while also suggesting that both Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley could have tournaments to remember.
“I think the stage is set for Raheem,” Gerrard said. “He has no pressure on him at all. The pressure falls on the experienced players.
“We want the likes of Raheem, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw to just go there and enjoy it and keep doing what they’ve been doing for their clubs.”
It is an interesting analysis and one that makes sense. After all, while the pressure of a nation has weighed heavy on England teams past, you sense that Roy Hodgson’s youthful side go there with a feeling of “let’s just see what happens”.
After all, no one expects England to win the tournament but they are looking forward to seeing how the likes of Sterling, Shaw and Barkley perform in Brazil.
In essence, this is the trio’s transitional period – easing them onto the world stage and simply pointing at the pitch and telling them to do their stuff.
And given the way all three players have performed for their clubs this season, there is no reason they cannot take Brazil by storm.
Sterling has been nothing short of sensational for Liverpool and could ultimately be England’s star-name. Similarly in Barkley and Shaw the Three Lions could have, well, three lions, all with talent aplenty.
Gerrard will know this is almost certainly his last chance to play on this stage, but for his Liverpool teammate and the rest of the next generation, it is just the beginning…