Rodgers warning over Sterling
Brendan Rodgers says he has already told Raheem Sterling's agent not to expect a bumper new contract after he was called into the England squad.
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey
Last Updated: 15/09/12 11:23am
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he has already told Raheem Sterling's agent not to expect a bumper new contract after he was called into the England squad.
The 17-year-old has emerged as a first-team regular under Brendan Rodgers this term and his progress was rewarded with a call-up to the senior England squad earlier this month.
But Rodgers has been quick to insist that the club will not be rushing through a big new long-term contract for the Jamaican-born winger.
"After I spoke to Roy Hodgson and Raheem, my next call was to his agent," Rodgers said.
"I wanted him to be aware that this news was coming out and that, when it did, he wasn't jumping in the car up to Liverpool to have a chat with me.
"I want to manage the expectations of the kid. The last thing we need is Sky Sports coming up with a yellow bar saying he has signed a five-year contract after playing two games."
Rodgers did, though, suggest talks had begun with Sterling over a contract.
"There has been dialogue between me and him - and that has been it," he said when asked if there had been any contract talks.
"There has been dialogue between me and his agent to let him know where we are at.
"He is only 17 and doesn't turn 18 until December. But I have seen it so much with young players.
"You see these young boys play one or two games, they get handed these super-duper contracts and it goes downhill from there.
"When they reach 22 or 23 years of age, you hear people ask: 'What has happened to so and so?' The biggest thing that distorts the reality of footballers is money. If we are going to help young footballers, you have to protect them and not give them big contracts.
"I worked with players at Swansea who had spent their lives in football and never earned more than two grand a week. They were at the end of their careers and had played 400-odd games. Now you are seeing young players who are multi-millionaires and, no matter what you say, it takes the edge off them.
"It is about consistency. I have given him a chance. What I want to see is if he can become consistent with it. If you can be consistent with the chance you get, you will be rewarded for it. That is important."
Rodgers admits he is more than happy with how Sterling is maturing as a player.
"You try to improve young players not just technically but tactically as well. You could see Raheem against Manchester City when they were playing 3-5-2," he said.
"The idea of a young player making his debut in a game like that is phenomenal but to have to play against a system you are not used to - well, that is difficult. He was playing against Kolo Toure; he had to know when to stay and when to press. But one of the biggest things that has come out has been his ability to learn. If he continues in that vein, he will have a terrific career."