Former England boss Roy Hodgson has backed Raheem Sterling to still be a key cog for Gareth Southgate’s England side despite the forward’s struggles for Manchester City this season. The 26-year-old has been in and out of Pep Guardiola’s team and only recently ended a 11 game goal drought.
Few players have done as well for Manchester City as Raheem Sterling has over the last few years with the forward hitting double figure tallies for goals in the league consistently. However, despite netting a career best 20 goals last season, Sterling has struggled for form and consistency this term with him only scoring nine goals so far. That combined with the plethora of options the Pep Guardiola has at his disposal has seen Sterling weave in and out of the team.
The forward has played limited minutes this season and is no longer guaranteed a place in Guardiola’s starting eleven which has many wondering what it could mean for his place in the England national team. But in light of that, Roy Hodgson admitted that he believes things won’t change with the Three Lions and that Sterling will still be a key part of the team. The Crystal Palace manager further added that the 26-year-old’s eye for goal and ability on the ball makes him an important player.
“I am a great admirer of Raheem, I think he is a fine player. It is a wonderful position to be in if you’re Pep Guardiola that you believe you have other players you prefer to use to Raheem, but I am pretty certain in terms of England, he will still be an important player and an important cog in the wheel because he has so much ability,” Hodgson said, reported Goal.
“The skill set he has and ability he has to beat people, get into goalscoring positions and score and set up chances, they are hard skillsets to find, and a great quality Raheem has got, and one I have always admired in him, is he is not a player who stays up there and waits for the ball to come to him.
“He makes certain he goes in search of it and when 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 of our players these days, but it’s not always easy to get it.”