Stoke City star backs 'brave' Sterling over tiredness

Stoke City's Peter Crouch has supported Liverpool's Raheem Sterling after he sat out of the European qualifiers this week.

Stoke City's Peter Crouch says that Raheem Sterling was brave to tell Roy Hodgson to leave him out of England's qualifier against Estonia.

Sterling cited tiredness as the reason he did not want to start in England's 1-0 win and it has caused great anger across the country.

Many feel that Sterling should have been honoured to be representing his nation and taken his rest when back playing at club level, but Crouch believes that it was a brave move from the young-winger - even if he wouldn't have done it himself.

"You can empathise with him," Crouch said to the Sentinel, "because he is playing Champions League and playing for a top club.

"It's easy to go mad at him not playing for his country, but he's 19-years-old. I think it's brave of him to come out.

"I probably wouldn't have done that myself, but at 19 I wasn't playing at a level he's playing at.

"It took me longer to get to that level and each player is different."

Sterling did eventually come off the bench in the latter stages of the match, but he was missed in his absence.

Despite England picking up the 1-0 victory, Sterling's pace and creativity was clearly needed to break down an Estonia backline which was surprisingly resolute.

The 19-year-old will return from the international break well rested, though, and he should be fully fit and raring to go when he takes to the field for Liverpool at the weekend.

The Reds face QPR on Sunday, as they look to kick-start their season and they will need Sterling on top form if they are to get the three points. 

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