'I have 30 witnesses' - Hodgson revives Sterling selection row with Rodgers

Roy Hodgson Raheem Sterling England Estonia
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The England boss insists his Liverpool counterpart was wrong to suggest that resting the 19-year-old for England's clash with Estonia was purely a "managerial decision"

Roy Hodgson has revived his public spat with Brendan Rodgers over Raheem Sterling, insisting the Liverpool manager was wrong to suggest that resting the 19-year-old from the start of England's clash with Estonia was purely a "managerial decision".

Hodgson kept Sterling on the bench until the 64th minute of last month's Euro 2016 qualifier in Tallinn and afterwards told the media that the Liverpool star had informed him that he was tired.

The revelation exposed Sterling to a barrage of public abuse and Rodgers leapt to the defence of his player, telling the Independent that the 19-year-old was "being hung out to dry" and adding: “At no point did Raheem Sterling say he didn’t want to play for England."

But Hodgson remains adamant that his initial version of events is correct. “In actual fact, Brendan is wrong to do that,’’ the England boss told reporters. “Unfortunately I have 30 witnesses to that extent and Brendan was not there.

"He got the wrong end of the stick and I’d be happy to put him right.

“I’d be happy to talk to him about it. If a player came up to me one day before the game, when I was intending to play him, just before the session started, and said to me, ‘I don’t think I can train today because I’m feeling too tired’, then I’d definitely leave him out."

Hodgson also moved to clarify his initial comments. “I never said that Raheem said he was too tired to play,’’ he continued.

“He did play [coming on in Tallinn] and got us the free-kick which won the game [with Wayne Rooney’s strike]. I said he said he was too tired before training and as a result I left him out of the team. You better ask Brendan.”

When asked what the nature of his relationship is with Rodgers, Hodgson insisted it was "very good" and added: “I get on well with him. I like him."

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