–Liverpool striker eyes space in England squad
Raheem Sterling has hailed Roy Hodgson as a “good man-manager” and is hoping he gets the nod for a World Cup place.
The 19-year-old Liverpool winger, who was capped by England at just 17, is targeting a rousing end to a thrilling season for his club in a bid to force his way into Hodgson’s plans for this summer’s showpiece in Brazil.
Asked what it would mean to him to receive the phone call telling him he was on the plane, Sterling told Football Focus: “It would be one of the best feelings that I will probably feel ever because growing up, you watched players like Ronaldinho playing in World Cups and doing the business, and just idolised these people.
“To then be called into England’s squad for a World Cup, I don’t think there would be a greater feeling, knowing that you could go out there and help the nation and do the nation proud.
“Hopefully I will get that phone call in May, but until then, I will just solely be focused on Liverpool and just be working hard, and I hope Liverpool will be right up there at the end of the season.”
At such a young age, Sterling is still making his way in the senior game, and he is indebted to both club manager Brendan Rodgers and international boss Hodgson for their help to date, with the latter having had a particular influence.
He said: “For me, he [Hodgson] is really good. He gives me good motivation to want to do well, to know a manager like that supports you.
“When I go away with England, he has always got his arm around me – not literally, but he has got his arm around me saying little things that I can do better at.
“He is a really good man-manager and really motivates the players when we go away with the England national team.”
Should he be among Hodgson’s party for Brazil, Sterling will hope to take his seat as a Premier League title winner, with the Reds pushing Chelsea and Manchester City all the way in a title race which seems certain to go down to the wire.
The form of strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has been key to the Anfield club’s success to date, and the Jamaica-born teenager insists they have to be considered alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Sterling said: “They are both unbelievable. They score goals that you see Ronaldo and Messi scoring, so you have got to put them up as one of the best in the world as well.
“Suarez, he is in the form of his life as well, even though he has done it season after season.
“It’s just really good to be working with quality players like that and hopefully I can learn a thing or two from them and get my scoring tally up as well.”