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Downing offers Liverpool team-mate Sterling advice after England call-up

The Reds winger offered the exciting young winger some words of wisdom after Roy Hodgson opted to draft him in for cover following Theo Walcott's withdrawal due to illness

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has offered words of advice to fellow Red Raheem Sterling after the 17-year-old sensation was handed a call-up to the England squad ahead of Tuesday night's game against Ukraine.

Sterling's rapid rise to prominence has culminated in a shock call from Roy Hodgson to bring him into international contention, despite only picking up only five Premier League appearances in his career so far.

Nevertheless, the Three Lions boss has clearly been impressed with his introduction to top-flight football and Downing believes that the youngster must embrace his chance to work with seasoned international players at the England camp.

The winger, who himself missed out on a place in the squad for this month's qualifiers, told the club's official website: "Credit where credit is due, he's a good player. Raheem deserved his chance and he's done well in two difficult games against Manchester City and Arsenal.

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"We weren't great against Arsenal but I thought he was one of our standout players."

The former Middlesbrough midfielder believes that there are definite similarities between his and Sterling's careers at an early stage and insists that he is in capable hands with the England squad.

"I played with a lot of top professionals like Paul Ince and Gareth Southgate and had good people around me who could help," he continued.

"Raheem's certainly in good company here and I think in terms of advice I would tell him to listen and learn and just keep doing what he's doing at the moment. Take advice from the manager and listen to the players who are on the pitch on the day."

Sterling has been brought in to replace Theo Walcott, who has been ruled out with a stomach bug, while there are concerns over Daniel Sturridge's fitness.

Downing does not believe that the youngster will be fazed by his call-up to the senior squad fold, though, adding: "He's very mature for his age. He listens and he's got a good future.

"He's got a lot of experienced players around him and that is similar to how it was for me at Middlesbrough when I was young."