English Premiership

Lampard in Sterling defence

2014-10-16 14:09
Raheem Sterling (Supplied)
Raheem Sterling (Supplied)
Cape Town - Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard has urged the media to lay off Raheem Sterling following the Liverpool winger's ;recent admission that he is tired.

The 19-year-old, who has played nearly three times as much football as he did at the same stage last season, did not start in England's 1-0 win over Estonia after telling manager Roy Hodgson that he was not up to it physically.

However, Sterling did eventually come on at half-time to play 45 minutes to win the free-kick that was converted by Wayne Rooney, leaving the Three Lions in a strong position to qualify for Euro 2016.

The teenager has since come under much criticism following his comments, but Lampard has leapt to his defence, arguing that Sterling has shown maturity to admit that he is fatigued, and expressed anger at those suggesting the Reds starlet gets paid too much to make such a statement.

"I think he is actually quite a brave boy to say, 'You know what I am not quite at my best here'," former England midfielder Lampard told BBC Radio Five.

"I am actually quite upset, not with the manager as such, but that the aftermath has been a lot of people criticising Raheem Sterling - who is probably in the top two or three players in our country and we need him to be at his best - for making quite a brave decision.

"I think we need to get behind him. Whether it is right or wrong, I don't know, but we are all individuals and he made that call.

"I would take the money out of it. That is easily said and I hate it when money gets drawn into things, in terms of 'because he is getting paid (this) he should act like this'. It happens too much.

"The fact is, when that's is your job, when you are doing it regularly, you have to make calls. I think Raheem made a judgment call on that game alone.

"Hopefully he will get 100 caps and be very successful for England."

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