Hodgson backs Sterling to benefit from Liverpool contract saga

The 20-year-old is in the midst of a stand-off with his club over a possible summer exit, but the England manager feels any negative reaction will help the forward’s maturity

Roy Hogson has backed Raheem Sterling to benefit mentally from his contract stand-off with Liverpool.

Talks between Sterling’s representatives and the club, which were planned for Friday, were cancelled after the 20-year-old’s agent, Aidy Ward, insisted the player would not sign a deal worth “£900,000 a week”.

Brendan Rodgers expects Sterling to remains at the club over the summer, before asking fans to support the youngster in Liverpool’s final game of the season.

Hodgson, who handed Sterling his debut for the senior England side at the age of 17, feels any negative reaction will only serve to aid the forward’s maturity, both on and off the pitch.

“Perhaps mentally, Raheem will be a little more prepared for what being a star for Liverpool and England now means,” Hodgson told reporters.

“When players like Raheem show some talent and break on to the scene, there is an awful lot of laxity in the criticism which comes their way because people only see the potential.

“They see the obvious talent and turn a blind eye to other things. They don’t want to stymie the progress. But that doesn’t last very long if you are a Jack Wilshere, a Raheem Sterling or a Daniel ­Sturridge.

“You go very quickly from being embryonic to being a fantastic star, like Sterling. And then people judge every single thing you do. They start looking for potential negatives.

“Raheem has had several situations this year when he’s been in the headlines non-football reasons, but has ridden those very, very well. I’m rather hoping that this season will make him even stronger.”