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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Brendan Rodgers warning for Liverpool FC's Raheem Sterling


Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling
BRENDAN RODGERS has urged Liverpool FC starlet Raheem Sterling not to fall into the trap of wanting too much too soon – and ruin his career in the process.
Sterling has proven a sensation since breaking into the starting line-up under new Anfield manager Rodgers this season.
The 17-year-old impressed sufficiently against both Manchester City and Arsenal to earn a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s senior England squad for the World Cup qualifier group game against Ukraine at Wembley earlier this week.
It has been a meteoric rise for a player who until the start of the season had played only 25 minutes of senior football.
And Rodgers has told Sterling – who may be rested to the bench for this evening’s Premier League trip to Sunderland – and his representatives to avoid the dangers of trying to further his career financially before becoming an established talent.
“I have seen it so much with young players,” said the Northern Irishman.
“You see these young boys play one or two games, they get handed these super-duper contracts and then he goes down to there.
“When they reach 22 and 23 years of age, you hear people ask ‘What has happened to so and so?’
“The biggest thing that distorts the reality of people and footballers is money. If we are going to protect young players and help them, you have to protect them and not give them (big) contracts.
“I worked with players at Swansea who had spent their lives in football and not earned more than two grand a week.
“They had played 400-odd games and were at the end of their careers.
“Now you are seeing these young players who are multi-millionaires.
“No matter what you say, it takes the edge off them.
“It is about consistency.
“The point I have made to Raheem – and he has been brilliant, to be fair to him – is that he will earn it. What I have done in his career is insignificant.
“I’ve given him a chance. What I want to see is if he can become consistent with it.
“If you can be consistent with the chance you get, you will get rewarded for it. That is important.
“You will be rewarded in time. I told him exactly that. He is happy and he is in a good place.”
Nevertheless, informal talks have already taken place over a new deal to reward Sterling for his progress at Anfield since arriving from Queens Park Rangers in 2010.
“There has been dialogue between me and him – and that has been it,” said Rodgers.
“There has been dialogue between me and the agent to let them know where we are at.
“There has been nothing official. He is only 17 anyway. He’s not 18 until December. There is no doubt it is something that we will look at in the next few months.
“After I spoke to Roy Hodgson and I had got through to Raheem, my next call was to his agent.
“I wanted to let him be aware that this news was coming out, but to make sure that when it came out, he wasn’t jumping in the car up to Liverpool to have a chat with me.
“I want to manage the expectation of the kid. The last thing we need is Sky Sports coming up with the yellow bar saying he has signed a five-year contract after two games.
“He will be a terrific player for the future. But the support mechanism around him (have to make sure) he is centric to everything. The people around him have to understand that. I can try and educate him but I can’t control everything.”
Liverpool, in 18th place after their worst opening to a season for 50 years, head to the Stadium of Light looking for their first Premier League win.
And Rodgers said: “We would have liked a better start but we are all motivated and we are certainly not moping about all doom and gloom, the attitude has been first-class.”

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