Gerrard - Don't rush Sterling
Steven Gerrard says England need to be patient with young stars such as Raheem Sterling, as preparations continue for a tough clash with Ukraine.
Last Updated: 10/09/12 2:30pm
Steven Gerrard says England need to be patient with young stars such as Raheem Sterling, as preparations continue for a difficult encounter against Ukraine on Tuesday.
Liverpool winger Sterling has been added to Roy Hodgson's squad, along with midfielders Adam Lallana and Jake Livermore of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, after Theo Walcott became the latest player to be ruled out of the Wembley clash.
Sterling's call-up is a reward for his strong start to the season at Anfield, and Reds team-mate Gerrard is excited about the talented 17-year-old.
But the England captain says the likes of Sterling, Lallana and Livermore should be allowed to develop without being put under too much pressure.
Asked about Sterling, Gerrard said: "I think he deserves this call-up. The impact he has made has been sensational and he has been one of our shining lights.
"The results we have had this season haven't been good enough but he has still stood up and his performances have been really good.
"I think the important thing now is that he keeps his feet on the ground, keeps learning and keeps trying to find a consistency in his game, but I don't think it's going to be long before he is in this set-up as a regular because he is that kind of talent."
Gerrard added: "These young lads are fantastic talents. I think it is important to be patient with them because they have all the tools.
"Let's not build them up and put too much pressure on them. Let them just progress and become good players naturally."
While the experience of being around the England squad will help players such as Sterling develop, it will be the senior figures like Gerrard who must shoulder the responsibility of getting the job done against Ukraine.
The two teams met at Euro 2012, where England needed fortune on their side as they battled to a 1-0 victory, and Gerrard is expecting another tough clash.
He is determined to pick up three points, though, and push on from a convincing 5-0 win over group minnows Moldova on Friday.
"We need to build on that and try to improve and keep learning," he said. "The performance the other night was positive but I think tomorrow night is going to be an even bigger test.
"Ukraine are a group of players that have played together for a long time and technically they are very good.
"I think over the 90 minutes they can feel hard done by that they didn't get at least a point (at Euro 2012), but we won the game and did what we needed to do, and hopefully we will get the same outcome tomorrow night."