Roy Hodgson sees future centurion in Raheem Sterling
England manager Roy Hodgson has been impressed by Raheem Sterling`s start to life with Manchester City and believes the 20-year-old forward can go on to win 100 international caps.
London: England manager Roy Hodgson has been impressed by Raheem Sterling`s start to life with Manchester City and believes the 20-year-old forward can go on to win 100 international caps.
Sterling endured a difficult end to last season and was roundly criticised for publicly rejecting a contract offer from Liverpool, before leaving for City in a £49 million ($74.9 million, 67 million euros) deal.
He has been a central figure in City`s impressive start to the Premier League season, scoring his first goal against Watford on his last appearance, and Hodgson is eager for him to take that form into Tuesday`s game with Switzerland, having been rested against San Marino on Saturday.
"He`s ready to go tomorrow (Tuesday) and we`re hoping he brings his City form with him," Hodgson told reporters at England`s team hotel in Watford on the eve of the Euro 2016 qualifier with Switzerland.
"It`s a big year for him. He`ll have a lot of big years: France in 2016, Russia in 2018, 2020 all over Europe (the Euro finals are taking place all over Europe), and 2022...
"It`s a big year and something to look forward to, but at his age he has plenty more to look forward to. I`m sure that, one day, he`ll be looking forward to sitting here alongside me with over 100 caps."
England secured their place at Euro 2016 by crushing San Marino 6-0 in Serrvalle on Saturday and Hodgson confirmed on Monday they will be based in Chantilly, near Paris during the tournament in France.
Having equalled Bobby Charlton`s England scoring record of 49 goals against San Marino, skipper Wayne Rooney can claim the record outright if he finds the net at Wembley.
The unheralded Aldo Simoncini was the man who conceded goal number 49, but it is the thought of pitting his wits against Europe`s leading shot-stoppers next June that is exercising Rooney`s mind at present.
"It gives you more to think about because they`re top goalkeepers," said the 29-year-old Manchester United captain."We do a lot of homework and study on them, as a striker looking at the defenders to exploit their weaknesses.
"I`ll watch videos of (Italy`s Gianluigi) Buffon one v one, to see which angles he puts his body in so you know where to finish, but it`s also about your instinct on the pitch."
His homework had not yet extended to Switzerland`s Yann Sommer, however, with a question from a Swiss journalist about the Borussia Moenchengladbach number one prompting an uncomfortable pause.
"We`re doing the video (analysis) tonight (Monday) on their team, so I`ll watch tonight and tomorrow before the game and see his strengths," Rooney said. "I`m sure he`s a quality keeper if he`s playing for Switzerland."
England require a point against Switzerland to secure top spot in Group E ahead of October`s final qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.
Rooney`s United team-mate Michael Carrick has been ruled out with a calf injury, so Swansea City`s Jonjo Shelvey could continue in a midfield holding role after catching the eye against San Marino.
In a previous job, Hodgson led Switzerland to the World Cup finals in 1994 -- the first time they had reached the tournament since 1966 -- and the country he once called home is hoping he might do them another favour.
Switzerland`s qualification hopes were in serious jeopardy after they fell 2-0 down at home to Slovenia on Saturday, but a stirring late fightback yielded a remarkable 3-2 victory that means they can secure at least a play-off place by winning at Wembley.
"We had a bit of luck, but we deserved to win," said coach Vladimir Petkovic, after his side prevailed courtesy of three goals in 14 minutes from Valentin Stocker and substitute Josip Drmic, whose brace included a 94th-minute winner.
"We said that, as a team, we wanted to stay together and be positive. I`m really proud of the team. It`s not every day you manage to do something like this."