Rodgers: I’ll save Sterling from burnout

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has vowed to protect Raheem Sterling as the England forward’s star continues to rise.
The19-year-old’s latest exciting England display – in Monday’s European Qualifier against Switzerland – means his profile is as high as ever going into today’s Sky Live trip to Aston Villa.
Sterling has remained a consistent performer for the Reds, scoring twice in three matches, but Rodgers is concerned about the repeated trend of building up young players in this country.
“I think he needs protection. I have seen it over the years,” he said.
“He is a wonderful talent, he is doing great for Liverpool but there are still a lot of things he needs to learn and he knows that and is a mature boy for his age.
“He has grown into a wonderful young man and his consistency and performances are there and the period he has been in the team has been exceptional
“I expect him to keep progressing but in terms of where he is at I think we need to be careful.
“You see so many players where there is a reliance on them, especially with England who, for whatever reason, tend to look for one player to put up on a pedestal and very quickly knock him down.
“Raheem will make mistakes, he will have bad games but he will also have outstanding games and it is keeping the calmness with him because he still has a way to go.
“He is certainly performing at a real high and consistent level.
“England know as well as anyone they need a team so they don’t have to focus just on Raheem.
“It has to be the team and that will always be the winner for England when they come together and they were excellent against Switzerland (in their 2-0 European Qualifier victory) as a team.”
The absence of striker Daniel Sturridge, who suffered an injury on international duty, has forced Rodgers to alter his forward line for Saturday’s game against Aston Villa.
Rickie Lambert, a late substitute in Switzerland, appears the natural successor, but Rodgers hinted that he might start on the bench with Lazar Markovic getting the nod.
“Rickie has been very good since he came in,” said Rodgers.
“He has mostly had an impact from the bench and you see even with England the other night when he came on he showed good ability to play a great weighted pass for Danny Welbeck to score.
“He is working very well and if he doesn’t get a start he will certainly start against Middlesbrough in the (Capital One) cup so his game time will come – but at the moment he is playing a great supporting role from the bench.”

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