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Teammates Push for Sterling Inclusion

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With England's first match of the World Cup quickly approaching, Raheem Sterling's Liverpool teammate believe the youngster has what it takes to make a difference in Brazil.

Richard Heathcote

Whether he's to have a place in Roy Hodgson's starting eleven against Italy on Saturday remains an unanswered question, but if it was up to Liverpool and England teammate Jordan Henderson there's little doubt 19-year-old Raheem Sterling would get the start.

"You've seen that in the Premier League and even when he's played for England," said Henderson of Sterling's ability to change the game. "He's outstanding. He has no fear. For such a young boy he's got great awareness and his knowledge of the game is really good.

"He can be a big plus for us in this World Cup. He can go as far as he wants to go. He's got a good head on his shoulders, got good people around him, so he's just got to keep working hard. I'm sure he'll go right to the very top. He'll be a top, top player."

While Henderson impressed against Honduras, Sterling sat on the sidelines following a high challenge against Ecuador's Antonio Valencia. Sterling, though, has impressed both manager and his England teammates in training throughout England's preparations.

"He was on fire in training and he looks like he has been around the squad for years," said Glen Johnson. "When he gets on the ball you can see he has learnt the game quickly and he can hurt teams. He’s probably the quickest in the squad over 10 yards."

Outside of his red card against Ecuador, in his two cameos in England's pre-World Cup friendlies he has been their best player, bringing more incisive attacking energy in limited minutes than either Wayne Rooney or Danny Welbeck have over extended runs.

His teammates know he can make a difference, as do most pundits and England supporters. The only question ahead of Saturday is if Roy Hodgson sees the same things in Sterling that everybody else does.