Barnes: Keep pressure off Sterling

It would be fair to say that Raheem Sterling has been the shining light in an utterly dismal season for the Reds so far and the fact he has already forced his way into the England squad speaks volumes about his development.

However, Anfield legend John Barnes says that it is vital to keep the pressure off the youngster, saying that it is unrealistic to put so much expectation on the player’s shoulders.

Even though Sterling managed several appearances last term, it’s only this season that he has made a real impact. Brendan Rodgers has brought the 17-year-old in as a first team regular and he’s already been involved in four of the club’s games. However, even though he impressed in all of those encounters, there were several raised eyebrows when Roy Hodgson decided to call him up to the England squad. This came despite the fact that Rodgers was desperate for Sterling to remain with the under-19 team, and not progress to the under-21s.

Following on from these events, legend Barnes has stated that supporters shouldn’t expect too much from the former QPR winger. Speaking to the press, Barnes said, “Raheem has done fantastically well. He’s in the Liverpool team on merit but he’s only had three or four good games. Being under pressure to do it week in week out is not where you want a 17-year-old to be. To put a lot of expectation on a young boy’s shoulders is unrealistic. I don’t know how he’ll cope with it but I’m urging other people not to expect too much and not to put him under pressure.”

Despite Sterling’s international call up, Roy Hodgson opted not to utilise the youngster and kept him on the bench for last night’s draw with Ukraine. However, several Reds players did make an appearance with the likes of Glen Johnson and Steve Gerrard starting, with the latter being sent off following a second yellow card in the late stages.

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