Rodgers urges more care for young English talent

The Liverpool boss believes a selection of players have been brought into the international fold prematurely, adding that many have been unfairly “discarded too early”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned against integrating youngsters into the England squad too quickly, namely Raheem Sterling.

The winger received his maiden Three Lions call-up last season aged just 17 but, after appearing in a friendly against Sweden, has failed to feature for the senior side since.

And Rodgers has now called for more care and attention in the development of England’s young talents, believing in some cases that players are thrust into the limelight prematurely.

“At that point in time he was one of the best young players in the country and he went into that game and actually did well,” he told the Daily Express.

“But it is about managing expectations – that is the biggest thing with a young player. You have to be so careful because there are so many young players in the country who get a cap and then are forgotten about.

“It can cause issues. It hasn’t as such, but I’m talking about young players here and not just Raheem.

“If they get projected into the international teams too early there can be a misplaced belief that they are considered ‘international players’ when sometimes the circumstances dictate that.”

Rodgers believes Sterling – who he had his professional debut – has demonstrated the potential to succeed at the highest level, but must be looked after in order to not become a victim of an increased level of expectation.

He continued: “He showed over the first six months of last season that he has a future in the Premier League and at Liverpool.

“It was going to be very difficult to maintain the level that he set himself, but he is only 18 years of age and as much as we want to play young players and give them the opportunity, there is a nurturing phase as well.

“We have to be careful and avoid what has probably happened too often over the years in football and discard young players too early. I don’t need them ready at 17. If they are, great, but certainly at 20 or 21, we would love them to be ready.

“For Raheem, football has to be very much at the forefront of his mind. If it is, he is a talent.”

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