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England Drama Awaits as International Break Begins

It wouldn't be an international break without a healthy dose of drama, and Roy Hodgson has set the table nicely by revisiting the Raheem Sterling debacle while also underlining the health of his relationship with Brendan Rodgers.

Ian Walton

Liverpool cannot get away from Roy Hodgson right now; the start to this season has been compared to the former manager's ill-fated reign, with Brendan Rodgers overseeing a worse start points-wise than the current England. If that wasn't bad enough, now they'll send four of their struggling squad members--Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, and Rickie Lambert--to take part for England, who face Slovenia and Scotland in the coming week and a half.

Last time around this went pretty poorly, as Hodgson publicly revealed that Sterling requested a break after a brutal stretch of matches for Liverpool, and each of Rodgers and Sterling commenting on a situation that had gone from bad to worse since Daniel Sturridge's injury.

The good news is that Hodgson is still as ignorant and obvlious as ever, and doesn't foresee any problems as the international break gets underway:

"I have been very lucky with all the clubs, with all the managers. They have all been very, very good. No one has ever come to me and said, 'Look, I don't want you picking my player.' No player has ever been put in that position by his manager of trying to pull out of an England team. That is the reality of the situation, that is the truth of the situation, and that is what I live with. I can't stop people suggesting otherwise. That is up to them.

"Neither Raheem Sterling nor I should have come in for any criticism whatsoever. That is the bottom line. But there is a week after a football match when there is not much to write about and it suited people to focus on that. I don't think Raheem did anything wrong, by coming and saying you are feeling tired on the day before the game and that you don't think you can take part in the training session. It never for one minute occurred to me that he would be criticised like he was for doing that. I never for one minute said he was too tired to play."

Had Hodgson kept his mouth shut, I maintain that he would have come off looking far more (or maybe just a little more) respectable in the eyes of Liverpool supporters, especially with Rodgers persisting in playing Sterling a ridiculous amount of minutes in a three-week stretch. Rodgers protected the 19-year-old without resting him, while Hodgson hung him out to dry but actually rested him. Nice balance between the two, but neither manager acquitted themselves particularly well during a spell that became increasingly tense.

All of which guarantees that we'll continue to hear more about it over the next fortnight, which is exactly what Liverpool will want after this week.

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