If Liverpool fans are sick of Liverpool players getting injured on international break while under the dubious care of Roy Hodgson and his associates, they've got nothing on Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers certainly isn't keen on his players returning not to the pitch but to the physio return after each break, but he's even more annoyed at the way his personnel struggle is being painted in the press.
"I’m fed up reading about this club v country row, claims we intervened and put pressure on Roy Hodgson," Rodgers seethed to the Independent. "I’ve read we sent dossiers to the FA [Football Association] on Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge and I’m having showdown talks with Roy Hodgson on Sunday and all sorts of rubbish. The decision not to play him was a managerial decision. I haven’t said a single word but have to say I have never seen such rubbish written over the last few days."
Rodgers' real issue, of course, isn't the stories made up for extra page views so much as Hodgson throwing Sterling under a fast moving double-decker by announcing to the press that the young forward said he was too tired to play against Estonia. It's not just Hodgson's failure to protect the player from the press, but the fact that the claim Sterling refused to play isn't even true, according to Rodgers.
"At no point did Raheem Sterling say he didn’t want to play for England," Rodgers explained. "The boy is being hung out to dry and I dare say the criticism will continue for a few more weeks to come because of this. Let me tell you, there have been at least five occasions in the past when Raheem has said he felt tired before games but he’s never refused to play.
"We have taken on board what he has said and taken a decision accordingly. I rested him against Aston Villa and we lost the game. But it was our decision to do so – and our decision alone. Last season he said he felt tired before the Manchester City game. We won 3-2 and he put in a man-of-the-match performance. The point I’m making is you have to take on board advice from your own people and make your own decision, right or wrong."
Someone somewhere has clearly told a mistruth or two, and in the process ruined many a recent think piece on how more players should be as honest as Sterling allegedly was with Hodgson. While the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, Brendan Rodgers at least has the competency to know when to back his player publicly.