There's not much to do during the international break other than talk about talking and hold your breath until you pass out in hopes that it'll prevent the injury fairy from snipping players' hamstrings with a bedazzled X-ACTO knife, so it's nice that Brendan Rodgers did some meaningful talking about taking care of the development of one of his most promising squad members.
Apparently Raheem Sterling's name had been kicked around as a real possibility for the U21's as they got their Euro qualifying campaign underway, and based on merit, the lone synapse bouncing around Stuart Pearce's head like a paused DVD screen can't be blamed for considering the option of giving the player a chance at a significant leap up the international ladder. For Rodgers, though, that leap would come too soon:
"I think with young players, you have to be careful. They can be elevated above their station too quickly. That is a part of it in this country. They have one good game and they get elevated into superstar status. But you then see them at 23 and 24 and you wonder why they are not superstars any more. I spoke to Trevor Booking on the thoughts of where the FA believe he is at and I said, in my opinion, he has the ability to be in the Under-21s, but I believe in many ways it is right for him to go with the Under-19s."
If you stopped by the Liverpool Offside yesterday and managed not to get too shouty then this will all sound vaguely familiar, but it's promising to hear acknowledgement and awareness from Rodgers of the need to bring Raheem Sterling along at a pace that isn't warp speed. He certainly elicits that in us--we want to see more, and we want to see it now. And if there was a way to guarantee that the trajectory he's currently on would continue endlessly, then we'd welcome all the Raheem Sterling we could get with open arms.
But there's not, and while that's mildly disappointing, it's nice to see that, at least at the international level, there's going to be patience and recognition of the very real pitfalls that could await the player if he's not cared for. Assuming the upward trend continues, there will be a tough balance to strike in the coming years between caring for and restricting, but at least this appears to be a step in the right direction.
Now for Rodgers to find a way to do the same for Sterling at Liverpool.