England boss defends benched Liverpool star

Roy Hodgson insists Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling was too tired to start for England in their 1-0 win over Estonia last night, Mirror reports.

Sterling was left on the bench at the start of the match, but was pulled on for the final 30 minutes when the Three Lions were unable to break the deadlock.

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Rooney did however seal the three points with a late free-kick, and Hodgson thinks that Sterling may be struggling with the pressure put on him by his club and his country.

He said: “People don’t like it when you tell the truth. Sterling has been excellent for us and I think he’ll be excellent going forward.

“We were training, doing a light session. Raheem had done the warm up and said, ‘I really am feeling a bit tired. I am not in my best form at the moment because I am feeling a bit tired’.

“So I said, ‘Best thing is Adam Lallana starts the game and you rest and I bring you on from the bench,’ simple as that. When he came on there was nothing wrong with him.

“There is an awful lot going on in your head as well. Perhaps it’s quite simply the season hasn’t started quite as well for Liverpool as they wanted. He’s a player who’s always in the focus and spotlight for England and Liverpool, maybe that’s had some effect.

England now lead their Euro 2016 qualifying group with three wins out of three games, sitting three points ahead of second placed Slovenia.

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