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England manager Roy Hodgson has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, saying the Liverpool winger has been treated unfairly by the press.
Sterling was blasted by former professionals and the press after Hodgson revealed he did not start for England against Estonia because he was 'tired'.
Speaking to students at the Cambridge Union, Hodgson said: "With young Raheem Sterling this week, it guts me to see that sort of treatment.
"It’s totally unfair and totally wrong. It’s suiting people’s agendas. But, you know, he’ll be stronger for it. Is that right? Of course it’s not right! But I can’t turn the clock back, I’m living in 2014, I can’t go back to Downton Abbey!”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, but insists there is no club versus country row between him and England manager Roy Hodgson.
The Liverpool and England winger has been embroiled in the middle of a club v country row after it was reported that he told Hodgson he was 'tired' before the game against Estonia last week - leading to the England boss dropping him for the match.
Rodgers has now denied that Sterling ever said that: "What has been disappointing in the whole affair is it has been grossly unfair how the kid has been put on the back pages for something he clearly did not say."
The Liverpool boss also insists that the club is always happy to work with England and there is no 'barrier' between the two.
"We are club and country here, not club v country. Liverpool are no barrier to England."
Rodgers also said messages have been exchanged between himself and Hodgson after the incident but the two have yet to meet.
Rodgers: "It's been grossly unfair how Raheem has been criticised for something he did not say. He's back here in a secure environment."
Rodgers on Hodgson: "We've exchanged messages and from today on we want to move on and put this to bed."
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has received a mixed reaction from ex-England internationals after feeling too tired to play for EnglandRead the full story ›
Raheem Sterling "will not be satisfied" with England's current World Cup performance as he is "all about winning", according to his childhood football coach.
Clive Ellington told Good Morning Britain how proud he was of his former student, who avoided a life of crime after excelling at playing with the Alpha and Omega Youth Club, and said the winger was always destined "bigger and better things".
Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Liverpool midfielder Raheem Sterling have held a press conference ahead of Thursday's pool match against Uruguay.
Update: This press conference has now finished.
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Raheem Sterling will start for England against Italy in their opening World Cup match in Manaus tonight, ITV News' Sports Editor Steve Scott reports.
The 19-year-old Liverpool winger is expected to play behind striker Daniel Sturridge, with Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney also in attack.
England were earlier handed a boost after Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was ruled out of the game after sustaining an ankle injury.
Liverpool footballer Raheem Sterling was accused of attacking 19-year-old model Shana Ann Rose Halliday following a row about a text message, Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard.
But, the case against Sterling was dropped when his former girlfriend failed to support the prosecution's case by giving "disappointing" evidence.
The Crown Prosecution Service withdrew its case after magistrates refused to treat Miss Halliday as a hostile witness.