Roy Hodgson says Raheem Sterling can win 100 England caps
Last Updated: 08/09/15 10:09am
Roy Hodgson believes Raheem Sterling could go on to win 100 England caps.
Sterling appears to be returning to form following his acrimonious departure from Liverpool and is expected to make his first England start of the season against Switzerland on Tuesday at Wembley.
After making his England debut aged 17, in a friendly against Sweden in 2012, Sterling had to wait another two years to earn his second cap and then two months later was called into Hodgson's World Cup squad.
He was one of the few players to impress in Brazil, but his form dipped as his relationship with Liverpool deteriorated last year and Hodgson said he did not start the winger against Estonia last October because he was tired.
However, with a troubled summer behind him, the £49m Manchester City forward is now expected to become a regular on the international stage.
"His first games for City have been good," the England manager said of the 20-year-old, who currently has 16 caps to his name.
"I didn't play him in San Marino to give others a chance, but he's ready to go [on Tuesday] and we're hoping he brings his City form with him.
"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, and [Qatar] 2022.
I didn't play him [Sterling] in San Marino to give others a chance, but he's ready to go tomorrow and we're hoping he brings his City form with him.
"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."
Hodgson gave an early indication of his faith in Sterling last summer when he handed the then 19-year-old his first England start in the World Cup opener against Italy.
The forward immediately got the England fans on their feet with a powerful drive that rippled the side-netting in Manaus and he played a part in Daniel Sturridge's goal in the 2-1 defeat to the Azzurri.
Soon after he returned from Brazil, Sterling's form dipped and he failed to hit the heights he had for Liverpool in their title push the previous season.
Contract issues between Sterling and Liverpool were made public towards the end of the campaign before City swooped in the summer.
Wayne Rooney feels the player has now found contentment at City, however.
"You can see he's settled. He's happy, I'm sure," the England captain said. "He's got the move he wanted. He's started the season excellently.
"When you are going through what he did, trying to leave Liverpool, it can be quite difficult. But he's a lot more relaxed and settled, which is good for us."
It is clear that Hodgson is placing Sterling at the centre of his plans for Euro 2016.
The England boss has been happy with the way Sterling has settled in at the Etihad Stadium, and he still thinks there is more to come from the Londoner.
"We have the same aim for him as he has for himself and his club manager – assists and goals from that wide forward position," Hodgson added.
"It'll always come down to that. I've liked his assists and the fact he's scored a goal early this season.
"We don't want him to lose that incredible work rate and tenacity he has, winning the ball back when he loses it. But the next step, this year he'll be hoping to have more assists and goals at the end of the season."