Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has been praised by England manager Roy Hodgson, who believes that the 20-year-old can make over 100 appearances for his country.
England take on Switzerland tonight in the the Euro 2016 qualifier. The Three Lions have already qualified for next year’s finals in France having won all of their 7 qualifiers till date. England beat San Marino on Friday night to confirm their passage to France.
The 20-year-old has been impressive in Manchester City’s perfect start to the Premier League campaign. Sterling swapped Anfield for the Etihad in the summer transfer window and the winger has not looked back since.
. Hodgson feels Sterling has it in him to get more than 100 caps for the national team
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by The Telegraph, Hodgson said:
a His first games for City have been good.
a His games for us have been good, too. It’s nice to have him available here. I didn’t play him in San Marino to give others a chance, and he was the only player we had who might have got suspended with a yellow (card). But he’s ready to go and we’re hoping he brings his City form with him.
a It’s a big year for him. He’ll have a lot of big years: France in 2016, Russia (World Cup) in 2018, 2020 (Euros) all over Europe, and 2022 (World Cup)… It’s a big year and something to look forward to but, at his age, he has plenty more to look forward to. I’m sure that, one day, he’ll be looking forward to sitting here alongside me with over 100 caps.a
Hodgson is also hopeful that the former Liverpool FC winger would be able to add goals and assists to his game. The winger has often been criticized for being wasteful in front of goal. But, the 68-year-old manager did praise Sterling’s work ethic and tenacity.
a The same aim he has for himself and his club manager has for him.
a Assists and goals from that position, a wide forward. It’ll always come down to that. I’ve liked his assists and the fact he’s scored a goal early this season (for City).
a We don’t want him to lose that incredible work rate and tenacity he has, winning the ball back when he loses it. But the next step, this year he’ll be hoping to have more assists and goals at the end of the season.a
We will leave no stone unturned – Hodgson on preparation for Euro 2016
Ahead of the Wembley showdown with second placed Switzerland, Hodgson also reiterated his desire that the team put on a great showing. The 68-year-old also threw light on the challenges of the knockout format of the game, which will be in place in France next year. However, he insisted that the team would leave ‘no stone unturned’ to win Euro 2016.
The manager was quoted by FA’s official website as saying:
“It will depend on the mentality of the players, because going into tournaments it’s knockout stuff, not a league like the qualification period is. If you lose the first game for whatever reason, immediately you are on the back foot and life becomes very difficult.
“One thing I know we will do is be as well-prepared as possible, to leave no stone unturned. We will be making sure when the players go into the first game they will feel ready and capable of achieving what the nation would like to see us achieve.”