BRENDAN RODGERS has moved to ease the pressure on Raheem Sterling by insisting the Liverpool youngster will have had a fine season even if he doesn’t kick another ball.
Sterling was an instant success on being handed his Premier League debut by Rodgers against Manchester City back in August.
The 18-year-old became a first-team regular with his form earning him an England start at the age of 17 years 341 days against Sweden in November.
However, Sterling has suffered a noticeable dip in form since signing a new contract the following month, and has started only two of eight games since being substituted at half-time against Manchester United on January 13.
But Rodgers has thrown a protective arm around the teenager and said: “This is a kid we’re talking about so we have to take a wee step back.
“What he’s done since he stepped on to the pitch Manchester City as a 17-year-old, I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made an impact in one of the big leagues. There aren’t many.
“It is so mentally and physically draining this league, it hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy and played football and earned a contract off that.
“We have to nurture that and at times he’s got to have that mentality to keep learning.
“I was talking to him the other day about this, and if he didn’t kick another ball this season he’s had a good one.”