Former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen believes that Raheem Sterling has to be a part of Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup.

The in-form winger featured in the Three Lions’ most recent squad for their friendly against Denmark, and made his second ever international appearance during the game.

The 19-year-old looked to be an outsider for the trip to Brazil just a matter of a few months ago, but a good run in the Liverpool starting XI has seen his stock rise significantly.

Owen has been impressed by Sterling of late, and believes that he should make Hodgson’s final 23 for the showpiece tournament:

“If you had said Raheem Sterling four months ago everyone would have laughed at you,” he told the Daily Star.

“Earlier on in the season he wasn’t a regular at Liverpool, but he’s improved at a rate over the past few months and has made a real late surge.

But Owen admitted that Sterling faces lots of competition to make the grade, with a number of other talented wide-men also in the running to represent England in Brazil:

“That position has so many options in the England team, you look out wide now and it’s unbelievable how many options England have got.

“With Walcott out injured you’ve got Lallana, Townsend, Lennon, Milner and Sterling all fighting for places.

“But on current form, Sterling has to start, possibly playing on one side opposite Lallana at the moment, but a lot can change between now and then.”

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