London: Jamaican-born English winger Raheem Sterling has sparked a raging debate here over his decision not to start for England against Estonia in a European qualifier.
Sterling has been facing a barrage of criticism after complaining that he was too tired to start the encounter which England won 1-0, reports CMC.
Sterling, 19, came on as a second-half substitute after which manager Roy Hodgson explained that the Liverpool winger had complained of fatigue on the eve of the match.
The matter has been featuring prominently on Twitter as well as the sports pages of several British newspapers.
Sterling, one of England's most important attacking players, has defended his decision saying: "Excuse me for being human."
He was brought on for the final 25 minutes of the game and was directly involved in the team's success after winning the free-kick that was later converted by Wayne Rooney.
After playing 44 matches last season, including England's three FIFA World Cup games in Brazil, Sterling has appeared 14 times for club and country - 12 of those as a starter.
Additionally, he has started in nine of Liverpool's 10 games to date in all competitions this season and made 38 appearances last season.