Liverpool fans will be happy as Hodgson hints at Sterling plans

Raheem Sterling

The flying winger may sit out the friendly game with Italy next Tuesday.

England boss Roy Hodgson has indicated that he is considering letting Raheem Sterling return to Liverpool after tonight's European Championship qualification game with Lithuania, rather than risk the winger aggravating a small injury in the friendly with Italy next week, as reported by Sky Sports.

Though Sterling is likely to feature at Wembley as England seek to increase their six-point lead at the top of Group E, the former Reds boss confirmed the youngster is one of a number of players who may be excused the trip to Turin for Tuesday's match.

"We haven't decided upon that yet," Hodgson said in Thursday's press conference. "Raheem is an obvious case, there's another one with James Milner, who's been playing for quite a long while with a knee problem.

"Both of them have done well in training this week, they played through it just like they have been playing through it with their clubs but there are people, those are two examples, that we're going to have a serious look at.

"In Raheem's case, in particular, I think he needs some specific treatment and, who knows, the wise thing might be to let him go and give someone else a chance."

Liverpool fans will be more aggrieved than most at the impact England duty has had on their players in recent times.

Daniel Sturridge suffered an injury in September that put him out for a couple of months, with the striker then getting further injuries as he tried to recover his fitness.

Brendan Rodgers already hinted that Sterling may be suffering from tiredness this season when he let the 20-year-old go on holiday in January, so Reds supporters will be delighted to know that it is likely their young star won't be unnecessarily risked in the friendly trip to Italy.

Considering both countries were knocked out in the group stages at the World Cup in Brazil last summer, the game will be a chance to prove that Italy and England can be big players at the 2016 European Championships, and such a competitive atmosphere isn't the right place for a player carrying a niggling injury.

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