Fatigue gate opens as Raheem Sterling complains of tiredness

Never in the days of Jock Stein would you have heard about players complaining about fatigue. Back then, many were considered lucky to be representing football clubs, and often had other jobs to supplement the little, by today’s standards, they received in wages.

Raheem Sterling, reportedly on the verge of signing a £100k per week contract at Liverpool, who are 11/10 with Coral to secure a top four Premier League finish, told England manager Roy Hodgson in training: “I’m feeling tired, I’d rather sit this one out”.

As a result, the Three Lions boss took the decision to drop him for the qualifier against Estonia. Hodgson, however, was sympathetic. “He broke into the Liverpool team, had a fantastic season and then went to the World Cup,” said the England manager. “He is only a 19-year-old.

“It is not as simple as the training you are having may be taking a bit of juice from your legs,” continued Hodgson, who has a 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifying.

“There is an awful lot going on in your head as well, so perhaps it is quite simply that the season has not started as well for Liverpool, and he is in the spotlight for England and Liverpool. Maybe that has had some effect. I don’t know. It’s a theory.”

For Sterling, it comes down to attitude. Clearly affected by Liverpool’s turbulent start to the season, and adapting to a new role just behind two strikers, seemingly for both club and country, a parent to three children, and just 19 years old, it is easy to at least understand why he might be jaded.

However, Barcelona’s Neymar, at the same age had as much going on professionally in his life as Sterling. The Brazil forward had commercial sponsorships with 11 different entities, though had the right people around to help him. So, why doesn’t Sterling?

As Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “Raheem Sterling is a teenager, teenagers do get tired and even moody. He’s young, still developing, we should cut him some slack.”

It is unlikely that Stein would have agreed, though this is a different era, dictated by media and money. Fatigue is merely an inevitable by-product.