An interesting scoreline. Following the public falling out between the Liverpool and England bosses, I fail to see how Roy Hodgson is doing anything other than scoring an own goal.
Brendan Rodgers and coach Mike Marsh have hit back at claims by Hodgson that Raheem Sterling is mistreated by the club and has apparently taken offense that the 19 year-old pleaded tiredness for England’s last two European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.
I’m frankly at a loss as to what Hodgson is playing at. Well am I? The fact remains in my opinion that the ex-Liverpool boss is frankly bitter at his being found out and shown the door by the Merseyside club. One of the biggest in world football and one that he didn’t succeed at. The 67 year-old’s record at Liverpool (P31 W13 D8 L10) is the poorest of any single serving, full time first team manager since Don Welsh in the 1950s. And it seems, he knows it.
Some have called him a Scapegoat for the Gillet/Hicks era but I think he was simply the other cheek of the same backside. Poor owners, employing a poor manager. Simple. To replace Rafa Benitez with Hodgson was best described as a a folly. When one considers the success his predecessor had, it’s laughable to conceive Hodgson would be a suitable replacement. Stopgap, perhaps. Scapegoat, hardly.
Last year Hodgson said he wanted to “test” Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, by playing him when unfit. The result, the player was injured for the following two months with damaged ankle ligaments. This was not the last time either, as Sturridge is soon to return from a six-week lay off after another of Hodgson’s tests. This is nothing short of negligent. Why didn’t he test Tom Cleverley, Jack Wilshire or Wayne Rooney? None of that trio are exactly know for their injury-free record. The fact is that Sturridge was and is the player who’d be most missed of all of those. And by whom? The club that turned out to be more than he could handle.
Now he puts Sterling in front of the bus by revealing the youngster complained of being tired. For a man who’s been a manager for near-on 40 years, I’m staggered that he’s never heard a player complain of tiredness before. If he hasn’t, then I’d suggest none of his players prior were daft enough to trust him with that statement. That’s the only reason I can think of. If they did, then he didn’t tell the press about it. The man simply wants to be vindictive and cause Liverpool to lose the form of an important player.
Rodgers has handled Sterling correctly in ensuring the boy gets enough rest between games. He’s 19 for God’s sake, and the public and press who choose to criticise him for that are nothing but pathetic. Perhaps they should ask Michael Owen. A player who’s wish to “…rest when I’m 40…” when Gérard Houllier tried to take him out of the limelight, retired for the last year whilst his teammate of the same age Steven Gerrard plays on at the highest level. A statement that hasn’t gone forgotten by the ex-England striker.
Rodgers is proving to be a capable manager. Injuries to key players have robbed him thus far, of the chance to continue the work of last season in ernest up until now. His methods have proved to bring the best out of players such as Jordan Henderson and Sturridge who up until working with the 41 year-old Northern Irishman were considered to be wasted talents. The proof of the pudding is in the performances of both, let alone Sterling. Hodgson on the other hand is out of touch. Raymond Verheijen called him stupid recently in the press and the Dutch Fitness Coach couldn’t have been more right couldn’t have been more accurate in his description.
All that said, the weekend is soon upon us and no doubt Sterling will have had a good week’s rest in order to travel down to London to face Queens Park Rangers. Sturridge also could well be fit. That is, no thanks to England and their outmoded dinosaur of a manager.
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