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Rodgers backs Sterling to play for Under-21s

20 March 2013 12:22

Raheem Sterling could benefit from representing England at the Under-21 European Championship this summer.

That's the view of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who has withdrawn Sterling from Premier League duty in recent weeks following the arrivals of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, amid fears the 18-year-old might suffer burnout.

But the Northern Irishman insists he has no reservations about releasing the talented youngster for the tournament, arguing it could help his development.

"I spoke to Stuart Pearce because we have a number of England U21 boys here, and I don't think it would do Raheem any harm to go," Rodgers told reporters.

"He's had a good season here up to now and going to a tournament like that if he was selected will be good for his experience."

Rodgers also refused to rule out the possibility of Sterling moving back into Liverpool's youth ranks in time to face Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup semi-final next month.

"Micah Richards played in the Youth Cup when he was in the Manchester City side in the semi-finals, so we will see," he added.

"We have to give credit to the young kids for getting there first."

Rodgers revealed Sterling has been attracting considerable interest from clubs looking to take him on loan, but insists he wants to remain in full control of the youngster's development.

"I've had a number of calls from teams looking to take him on loan, but our squad is thin enough as it is, and he won’t be doing that," Rodgers said.

"We just have to ensure as a club we don't make any mistakes with his development. It is about nurturing the young players and making sure they don't have too many miles on the clock too early.

"This is a kid who he has just turned 18 and done brilliantly for the first team, and I don't know a player within that age who is playing regularly at this level."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 35 +52 80
2 35 +41 75
3 34 +56 74
4 35 +21 70
5 35 +23 69
6 35 +2 63
7 34 +16 57
8 35 +5 49
9 35 -15 46
10 35 -10 44
11 35 -13 43
12 35 -10 37
13 35 -4 36
14 34 -9 36
15 34 -14 35
16 34 -13 33
17 35 -28 32
18 35 -34 30
19 35 -42 30
20 34 -24 29

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