Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has vowed to give Raheem Sterling a break from first-team action in the New Year.
The 20-year-old attacker has been one of the Reds’ better performers during what has been a bellow par start to the season, building on his key role in the title run-in of last term.
His 2014 performances saw Sterling named the Golden Boy last week, which is an award given to Europe’s top young player – the likes of Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are previous recipients.
Despite his age, the England international has already made 23 appearances for the Merseysiders this season, operating in a range of positions including wing-back and centre-forward.
There have been fears that so much football at such an early stage of his career may have repercussions in the future, with a former Kop idol in the shape of Michael Owen a prime example of the dangers of ‘burn out’.
And Rodgers says that he will do all he can to save Sterling, with a post Christmas break planned for the versatile ace:
“Raheem will have a rest even though he hasn’t been looking tired, either the other night or over the last number of games.” He is quoted by The Mirror.
“But he is in a similar mould to Wayne Rooney – who I think is brilliant – in that if you take him out of a rhythm, it takes him a while to get going again.
“If you look at Rooney, he is better in rhythm. Take Rooney out for a couple of games and he is not the same player.
“There is a period already mapped out for Raheem when he will come out and have that breather and recovery after Christmas.”