England manager Roy Hodgson has moved to assure Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers he will keep winger Raheem Sterling grounded in the wake of his first international call-up.
With senior players such as Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge ruled out of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying clash with Ukraine, Hodgson chose to bring the 17-year-old into his squad for the first time.
Rodgers had previously stressed the importance of preventing Sterling from being billed as a “superstar” following an impressive start to life in the Premier League, and Hodgson has insisted this will not be the case.
“I’ve spoken to Brendan Rodgers and cleared this up with him, and he’s satisfied,” Hodgson told reporters.
“He was probably surprised, but I’ve explained the thinking behind [Sterling] coming in, and I’ll make that clear to Raheem as well.
“He’ll be pretty lucky to get close to the field because there are plenty of players in the squad who were chosen in front of him, but I can only hope he takes this in the right way. That it is great to be invited into the England set-up.
“He mustn’t think he’s become a part of the set-up and has ‘made it’. He has to try, next time, to make sure he is one of the original squad of 23.
“We’ll be watching him closely before the games in October [against San Marino and Poland] to see whether he’ll merit a place in the squad.”
The 65-year-old went on to reveal that his discussions with Rodgers had seen the pair agree that the experience could help the Jamaica-born wideman.
“Brendan agreed it would be nice for Raheem to soak up the atmosphere around a big game like this, but we’re talking a young and precocious talent,” he added.
“His rise has been meteoric, and we’re all of us concerned that we dampen expectations for him as much as we can. I can’t stop people talking about it. That’s a natural thing.
“But we’ll be making it clear to Raheem: ‘Look, it’s a great start and there’s interest in you and your progress, but don’t read too much into being here other than we’re keeping an eye on you.’”