The opinionated former Chelsea midfielder hammered Liverpool star Raheem Sterling for dropping out of the England team, commenting: ‘Everybody gets tired – he just didn’t fancy it.’
Speaking on ESPN, during his own feature: ‘Burley’s boiling point,’ the former Scotland international question the logic behind a tired 19-year-old.
‘Tired 19-year-olds, when did they appear?
‘Well, Students. Students that never get out of bed. But not international footballers, not in European qualifiers.
'Raheem Sterling telling Roy Hodgson that he’s too tired; he’s not in-from; he doesn’t want to play; he doesn’t feel he’s going to do himself justice, at 19?
‘Too tired to play for your country, in October?
Sterling has split opinion among the footballing world due to his decision to drop out of the England game due to fatigue, with some professionals labelling him half-hearted while others praise his honesty.
Burley, however, wasn’t on the fence on this topic and proceeded to attack the decision further, despite his co-host's best efforts of arguing in favour of the Liverpool man.
‘Every player is tired,’ added Burley.
’25-year-olds are tired. 28-year-olds are tired. 34-year-olds are even more tired. 19-year-olds do get tired, but they have energy.
‘If he had been playing for Liverpool in a Champions League final; if he had been playing for England against Brazil in the World Cup, he would not have said to Roy Hodgson the day before the game ‘I can’t play against Brazil tomorrow because I’m tired.
‘He didn’t fancy it.’
The work ethic of Sterling, before this incident, has never been in question and few can argue that, when on the pitch, he is a 100% effort every second kind of player.
He’s constantly looking for the ball, looking to create chances and looking to be the match winner. He’s got a youthful appetite for the game, something that many may argue lead him to feeling tired for the Estonia game on the Sunday.
Whether or not he would have dropped out had the game been a bigger occasion remains up for debate. However, few can argue that if he had played and got himself injured England would be in a much worse state than they are currently.
The players on the pitch went out and got all three points, thanks to a Rooney free-kick, so in hindsight his exclusion didn’t effect the result anyway.