Why both club and country should be pleased with Raheem Sterling

There has been something of a storm surrounding the 19-year-old after he told England manager Roy Hodgson he was tired ahead of the qualifier with Estonia.

Everyone seems to have had their say on Raheem Sterling not starting for England against Estonia because he was fatigued.

There seems to be a section of fans that seem to think because he earns a lot of money, the 19-year-old has no right to be tired and should be played until he drops. There are some that thinks it may be a result of a row between Liverpool and England over how Daniel Sturrridge returned to Merseyside injured at the end of the last international break.

The fact is, Raheem Sterling is still a teenager. He may even be a father, but he is still a teenager. Though the talent he possesses is incredible, and he has the potential to become one of the finest footballers in the world, it seems lost on people that he is still nowhere near the finished article.

19-year-old footballers don't often expolode onto the scene quite like Sterling has. We all saw his promising talent a couple of seasons ago, but his opportunities were few and far between in the second half of the 2012/13 season. He was reintroduced into the side gradually, used from the bench, like many promising teenagers, but from around December last year his stock rose considerably.

He tormented defenders, scored goals and showed his versatilty, becoming one of the more integral parts of a side challenging for the Premier League title.

Following that he played for England in the World Cup, and with the departure of Luis Suarez, some looked to Sterling as being the man who would be the focal point of a Liverpool team that had just returned to the Champions League and came so close to winning the title. It is a lot for a teenager to take on, and there will inevitably be a time when he becomes fatigued.

It came on international duty, but if he said nothing and tried to go flat out for 90 minutes, you can bet all the money in the world he would have been the centre of another club-versus-country row.

The chances are he could have picked up a long muscle injury. Look at the likes of Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen who both burst onto the scene at a young age, they picked up injuries throughout their career and they were never really taken out of the firing line. They became too important, too soon and were amongst the first names on the team sheet when available. They were heavily exposed as a result.

Sterling is still being nurtured. The chances are he will line up against the European Champions Real Madrid at Anfield next week. He has been rested this season already against Aston Villa so there was clearly a plan for Rodgers to protect Sterling.

At the end of the day, something perfectly normal has taken place, and Roy Hodgson making it public has made it an issue, when it needn't be.

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