ENGLAND head coach Roy Hodgson has risked causing the ire of Brendan Rodgers by criticising the two-day recovery method the Liverpool manager uses to try to keep his “fast” players fit.
Hodgson’s relationship with Rodgers was again put in the spotlight after the former Fulham manager revealed Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling asked to be excluded from the England team for Sunday’s 1-0 win in Estonia.
‘’He (Sterling) said, ‘I’m feeling tired, I’d rather sit this one out’,’’ the England manager said after the game, which was settled by a second-half free-kick from Wayne Rooney.
Shortly after revealing the details of the conversation, Hodgson told Rodgers he must do his bit to make sure his teenage star does not suffer from physical and mental fatigue too.
“Am I the only one with that responsibility? Or does it have to be shared between club and country? I think it does,” Hodgson said.
The 67-year-old then criticised one of the methods Rodgers uses to try to ensure his quickest players, presumably including Sterling, recover properly from matches.
The Liverpool boss revealed last month that he is a strong believer in giving his “fast” players two days to recover from matches due to the stresses and strains their speed causes on their bodies.
Rodgers spoke of his frustration at Hodgson’s refusal to adopt the two-day recovery method for Sturridge last month after he pulled a thigh muscle during a sprint at an England training session.
But Hodgson says there is little evidence the programme benefits players’ recovery times.
“Raheem might say it is something that is becoming ingrained in him and that he felt the need to talk about being tired more than he would normally do,” Hodgson said.
“But we have never had any problems with that. I don’t think there is a lot of medical evidence to support the ‘two-day recovery’.
“So if you want to, you might want to research that one.
“Certainly, the Germans who you (the media) admire so much – they don’t do it. That is for certain.
“I would expect players not to take it for granted that there will be two-day recoveries.”
It is understood that England’s medical staff will be contacting their counterparts at Liverpool this week to talk about Sterling’s fitness.
And Hodgson himself will call Rodgers to discuss the matter.
“I think I should speak to Brendan, but it really is very simple and I am sure he understands that situation,” Hodgson said.
“Raheem has played a lot of games recently and it is the first year in the Champions League for Liverpool for a while so the games have obviously been quite high pressure games and I will tell him he looked a bit tired and I made the decision from that to play Adam Lallana.
“But Brendan has been talking anyway about the pressures Raheem has been under and the fatigue that may have set in a little bit so I am pretty sure that he will be dealing over the next month with Raheem as he sees fair.”
The Liverpool teenager has played 1,450 minutes in total this season so he has found sympathy from others in the game.
Rio Ferdinand, who had to pull out of England games towards the end of his international career as he struggled with fitness issues, thinks Sterling and his fellow professionals would benefit greatly from a winter break.
He added: “A mid season break like most other countries would help....fatigue is 1 element as to why England have struggled at tournaments too.
“With more rest at the right times throughout seasons (Wayne) Rooney would have gone into tournaments for England fresher 100%.... Too proud again.”