Raheem Sterling transfer: Roy Hodgson says he is 'always available' to listen to the Liverpool and England winger

However, the England boss is also wary of intruding on club business

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The Independent Online

England manager Roy Hodgson has offered to lend Raheem Sterling a sympathetic ear to air any contract frustrations, but admits he would rather stay out of club business.

The 20-year-old, named in the national squad to face the Republic of Ireland on June 7 and Slovenia on June 14, has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons as his future at Liverpool comes under increased scrutiny.

His rejection of a new £100,000-a-week deal going public was bad enough, but since then he has been booed by fans at the club's end-of-season awards.

Reported comments from his representative Aidy Ward - subsequently disputed by the agent - suggested he would not sign a new contract if the club offered him £900,000 a week and resulted in Liverpool cancelling a scheduled meeting on Friday to discuss the player's future.

Hodgson has not enjoyed the best of relationships with Liverpool or the player after Daniel Sturridge sustained a long-term injury on England duty last September and then he revealed Sterling had asked not to play in a Euro 2016 qualifier as he was feeling tired.

However, he has left his door open if the player wants to discuss any issues when he joins up with the squad early next month.

"I am always available for the players, and Raheem has been with us a long time," Hodgson said.

"I would like to think if the players felt there was some need to talk to me or if it could be of some benefit to them, then they would take the opportunity.

"But as far as I am concerned, the situation between a player and his contract negotiations at his club are purely club business.

"I won't be poking my nose into that business at all.

"Being in a situation where I am often in front of a very inquisitive and knowledgeable media, I would very much like things to be done in private.

"But this is the world we live in and we have an inquisitive press and knowledgeable press, people who research, the stories do leak and get out, so it is a bit naive of people like me to sit here and say this is a terrible thing to happen and should all be done in private.

"Ideally, yes, but good luck to the clubs who can keep these negotiations totally private and can keep these headlines from appearing."

Hodgson has no doubts over Sterling's state of mind when he reports for England duty.

"I'm expecting Raheem to be just as he always is when he comes to England - very supportive of what we are trying to do, very anxious to please us, just as he is anxious to please his club coach, so I have no fears in that respect with Raheem," he added.

"We are always delighted when he meets up. He is a very low-maintenance player from our point of view, always first out for training and last in.

"He never causes us any concerns whatsoever and I have never had the slightest of doubts of his commitment to England and his desire to play for us.

"How he feels about that situation vis-a-vis his current situation, you would have to ask him.

"Unfortunately being in the media spotlight is part of being an exceptional young player who already is being regarded as one of our best.

"I hope that people don't judge him too harshly, whatever he happens to do, but I have to say as a player and a character I find him spot on - I have no criticism whatsoever."

PA

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