Hodgson: Sterling has very big future for England

With the Anfield teenager set to come into contention to start against Ecuador on Wednesday, the former Liverpool boss feels he needs to be treated with caution despite his talent
England manager Roy Hodgson believes Raheem Sterling will become an important player for the Three Lions in future years as he continues with his preparations for the World Cup in Brazil.

Hodgson and his squad arrived in Miami on Sunday ahead of a friendly against Ecuador on Wednesday, and with the boss set to hand those who missed out against Peru a chance from the start, Sterling is one of those in contention for a place in the XI.

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Danny Welbeck was preferred to the Liverpool starlet at Wembley on Friday, and Hodgson has called on supporters not to put too much pressure on the likes of Sterling despite his obvious talent.

"He’s a good player and I’m sure he’s going to be a very big player for England going forward as well, but at the moment I would rather like to see some of these younger players treated with a little bit more caution," he told reporters.

"I think it’s very dangerous to start building them up and saying: ‘England are going to do terrifically well because of them.’

"There are a lot of other players in our squad who are going to have to take responsibility and hopefully they [the younger players] will come in on the back of it and put the icing on the cake."

Sterling was one of a number of players rewarded by Hodgson for fine Premier League seasons, with the 19-year-old having found the net 10 times for the Anfield outfit during the 2013-14 season.

Brendan Rodgers has used the teenager in both central and wide roles in recent weeks, but Hodgson does not believe the young starlet yet has a best position.

"Friday was only his third appearance and it would be stupid for me to say on the basis of just a few minutes: ‘Raheem Sterling, this is his best position.’ I’m not even certain I want Raheem to have a best position necessarily," he added.

"I want Raheem to be able to play in the position where we need him. On Friday we thought it would be good to bring him on initially in the position behind the front player, in behind Danny Welbeck, where we’ve seen him play well.

"But then we wanted to bring on Ross Barkley so we moved him wide and he did OK there. What you can say is that in those areas we have enormous competition."