Raheem Sterling: England midfielder bites back at critics after asking to be left out of Estonia match with cryptic Twitter message

Sterling posted 'Now listening to... Excuse me for being human' after the 1-0 victory that saw him ask Roy Hodgson to be left on the bench

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The Independent Online

Raheem Sterling has responded to his critics that blasted him for asking England manager Roy Hodgson to be left out of the starting line-up for the 1-0 victory over Estonia because he was tired.

Sterling was left out of the side that began the match in Tallinn despite the 19-year-old emerging as one of England’s key players since the beginning of the World Cup. The Three Lions struggled to impose over the Estonians, and it took a late Wayne Rooney free-kick to break the deadlock and maintain their 100 per cent record in their 2016 European Championships qualifying campaign.

Sterling took to his Twitter account to post a cryptic message that appeared to be a response to the criticism he was getting on social media.

He posted: “Now listening to... Excuse me for being human. On my way home.”

 

While the message is not the most obvious response, the fact that Sterling had retweeted a number of those who had blasted him for asking to be left out left little to the imagination in what Sterling was trying to achieve.

One such message to Sterling suggested he should “try getting up at 5am six days a week and putting in a proper shift”.

 

Sterling did come off the bench as Hodgson attempted to spark his lacklustre side into life, with the attacking midfielder coming on for Jordan Henderson in the 64th minute. He would go on to win the free-kick that Rooney struck into the back of the net for the victory, but his absence from the starting line-up has caused a mixed response among supporters.

 

Some have blamed Sterling after Hodgson revealed he asked to be left out, while others have criticised Hodgson for ‘throwing Sterling under the bus’ and leaving him open to scrutiny.

“People don't like it when you simplistically tell the truth,” Hodgson said after the match.

“We were training at The Grove doing a light session but some work in how we wanted to play the game tactically.

“Just before we started, Raheem had done the warm up and he came to me and said, ‘Look I really am feeling a bit tired, I'm not in my best form at the moment because I am feeling a bit tired’.

“So I said the best thing is Adam Lallana starts the game and you rest and I have got you to bring on from the bench, simple as that.

“As you saw when he came on there is nothing wrong with him and he isn't suffering from anything.”

Hodgson did not leave it there, as he suggested that Liverpool’s poor start to the season could be behind Sterling’s decision to ask to be left out given his constant role in the spotlight when it comes to both club and country.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had spoken to Hodgson before the international break to express his concerns that the players were not being treated right, having seen Daniel Sturridge return from England duty with a thigh injury that has ruled him out of action for over a month.

“There is an awful lot going on in his head,” Hodgson added. “Perhaps it's quite simply the season hasn't started quite as well for Liverpool as they wanted.

“He's a player who's always in the focus and spotlight for England and Liverpool, maybe that's had some effect. But I don't know, it's a theory.

“In mitigation of a young player, when you break into a team like Liverpool and you have a fantastic season, then you go to the World Cup and you do well and people regard you as one of the few who lived up to his reputation.

“Then you come back and you're still only 19 years of age, there are a lot of other things that play a part it people's make up. It isn't quite as simple as the training you're doing maybe taking some juice from your legs.”

Liverpool face Queens Park Rangers on Sunday as the Premier League resumes, and it’s expected he will start given he only played 45 minutes against San Marino and 26 minutes in Estonia.

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