Raheem Sterling is a “key cog in the wheel that has so much skill,” said Roy Hodgson, backing behind the failed Man City star to shine for England at the European Championship despite his drought of eleven club-level games.
- Roy Hodgson handed Raheem Sterling his England debut as a manager in 2012
- Sterling is currently going through a difficult goalscorer at Manchester City
- He has not scored in eleven games and has been sent to the bench in major games
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has backed Raheem Sterling to play a key role for England at the European Championship, despite shooting another blank for Manchester City this weekend.
The forward saw his goal drought at club level grow to 11 games after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Selhurst Park.
Sterling’s indifferent form resulted in him being left on the bench for City’s midweek win against Paris St Germain and failing to make the most of his starting spot in London.
Raheem Sterling has been backed to return to form for England over the delayed euro
Sterling has not scored for Manchester City in eleven games and has dropped out for major games
Hodgson gave the 26-year-old an international debut as manager of the Three Lions in 2012 and is confident that the winger will remain a key figure for England manager Gareth Southgate at the Euros next month.
“I’m a great admirer of Raheem, I think he’s a great player,” said Hodgson. “It’s a great position when you’re Pep Guardiola, who you think you have other players you’d rather use than Raheem.
‘But I’m pretty sure in England terms, he will still be a major player and a major cog in the wheel because he has so much power.
‘The skills he has and the ability he has to beat people, get in goals and score and create opportunities, are hard to find skills.
And one great quality that Raheem has, and one that I’ve always admired in him, is that he’s not a player who stays up there and waits for the ball to come to him.
“ He makes sure to look for it and if he loses it, he gets it back and plays an important role in the team’s defensive work.
“These are things we as coaches expect from our players these days, but getting it is not always easy.”
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson believes Sterling will be firing on all cylinders for England
Sterling started City’s recent Carabao Cup triumph at Wembley but wasted three big chances against Palace, attacking early on before cutting wide under pressure in the area and hitting the inside of the post from a tight angle later in the game.
The latest attempt summed up the happiness of the former Liverpool forward, who has netted twice for England this season and found the net 13 times for chasing City.
While he ended up with more than double that number in each of the last two campaigns, Guardiola has warned Sterling to be ready for his next shot.
‘He deserved to play in Paris, but it’s unfair if I leave Phil (Foden) or Riyad (Mahrez) now. It is hard for me. I justify my decisions and I don’t want that, ” admitted the city manager.
‘Raheem has played exceptionally in the last two games and he has to be ready because we have a final and maybe he will play many minutes from the start.
“Maybe when we get to the Champions League final … everyone can play. That is why the dedication has been there for many years to be in a position where we won all these titles. ‘
Hodgson gave Sterling his England debut in 2012 and worked with him there for four years
City heads into Tuesday’s semi-final return leg after a comeback win over PSG last week.
The Ligue 1 outfit could be without star striker Kylian Mbappé, who missed their 2-1 win over Lens on Saturday with a calf injury.
Although the Manchester club has a one-goal lead, Guardiola will instruct his players to go for another win.
He added: ‘We have to do our job on Tuesday and put in a near-perfect performance to reach the final.
‘We play a team with the most talented players in the front. It’s not just one, not just two, it’s three – even three and a half.
‘They can win the games in one action. We have to play as a team with (an) incredible mindset to play to win. We have to be more aggressive to try to win the game. That is why the commitment is there for everyone. ‘