Late on Tuesday it was confirmed by Roy Hodgson that Raheem Sterling would be amongst his eleven starters for England's friendly against Sweden. After previously being brought along to man the bench during a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in September, it can now be said for certain that Wednesday will mark the senior England debut for a player who in a few short months has managed to go from Liverpool's next big thing to all of England's while becoming a regular starter for his club.
His debut for England, in a friendly and with Hodgson as manager, will in some ways mirror his Liverpool career where it was in fact Hodgson who gave Sterling his first taste of senior action, bringing him on during a pre-season friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2010. At the time he was only 15 years old; now he's a month shy of his 18th birthday and already being built into not only Liverpool's saviour but, potentially, England's too.
"In some of the Liverpool games I have seen he has pretty much been the star player," said Hodgson of his decision to give Sterling the start to mark his debut. "He is extremely dangerous with his ability to run with the ball, his pace and directness. He has even scored one or two important goals. If he can do it on a regular basis for Liverpool in the Premier League I have every right to think he can do it playing for England as well."
Worth noting for those concerned with Sterling's international future is that while appearances in friendlies count as official caps under FIFA regulations, they don't in fact tie a player to a national team. That means that even once he starts in Stockholm, Sterling will remain eligible to play for Jamaica at the senior level unless or until he makes an appearance for England in a competitive match.
Of more immediate interest to Liverpool fans, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard—with the later marking his 100th appearance for England—have both also been confirmed in the England starting lineup.