Why Hodgson's man management of Sterling and Barkley left a lot to be desired

Roy Hodgson Euro 2012 England

The England manager made comments about two younger members of his squad that have made the headlines.

Roy Hodgson has had a bit to say over the past couple of days on the top of a couple of England’s younger players in Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling – who had contrasting fortunes in the side's 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Miami on Wednesday evening.

Both situations were a test of Hodgson’s man management. Barkley’s involvement in England’s second goal, scored by Rickie Lambert, captured people’s imagination that he could be a potential wildcard who could help England go far in this summer's World Cup.

Sterling, however, was sent off for a rash challenge on Antonio Valencia, with the Manchester United man throttling Liverpool’s Sterling following the challenge – it turned out to be Sterling’s only chance to shine prior to England’s first group match against Italy on June 14 in Menaus.

Hodgson said following the friendly on the subject of Sterling's dismissal:

“Raheem’s obviously gutted because he knew he had a very strong chance of starting on Saturday [against Honduras]

“I’d already told him that and now he realises that chance is blown and he’s got to get himself back into the frame for the game against Italy.”

Maybe he should have rephrased that. Instead of focusing on the negative that he will miss the last game prior to their World Cup opener, why didn’t he place on emphasis on that there is still time for him to impress in training and to show that he can of value in the group stage? And that he may not be overlooked because of the red card.’

Then there was the comments on Barkley, one of the brighter performances within England's display that were followed by possibly the most baffling comments.

Hodgson said he wouldn't be joining the hype, adding: “He lost the ball an awful lot of times as well. If he’s going to be the player we want him to be, he has to make better decisions when he turns with the ball.”

No mention of the drive he’s shown, the excitement with the ball at his feet. He did mention other players who may have played well and that is fair enough, but he could’ve said there was more to come from Barkley rather than say he doesn’t do this well enough and to make it sound scathing.

He could’ve talked about him being a young prospect who has a still a lot of improvement in him, and that’s possibly the most scary thing about the Everton midfielder's potential, as pointing out other players he felt performed well.

But instead he painted it in a negative light. Whilst one can understand trying to keep a lid on expectations and not putting too much pressure on a player, surely trying to make a player 10 feet tall rather than bringing them back down to earth with thud is the best way to deal with things?

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch