• World Cup

Sterling ready to make way for Rooney

ESPN staff
June 18, 2014
Sterling - Can't think about Suarez

Raheem Sterling says playing him out wide and Wayne Rooney through the middle could be a "really good thing" for England when they face Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

The Liverpool forward was one of the bright lights in the country's opening Group D defeat to Italy last Saturday, but with debate raging over the role of Rooney, Sterling is keen to make his Manchester United counterpart the main man.

"That is my normal position out on the wing so with Wayne's vision and his passing ability and my running ability, it could be a really, really good thing," Sterling said. "It is up to the manager to decide.

Mum's the word for Sterling

  • Raheem Sterling took advice from his mum Nadine before his impressive performance in England's World Cup defeat to Italy last Saturday.
  • "Before the game she just told me to relax, not put too much pressure on myself and just try to do my best," Sterling said.
  • However, the 19-year-old admitted his mother is not always positive when it comes to talking about his performances.
  • "After the game she dropped me a text. She can be tough on me, though. She has told me before that I don't put the ball into the back of the net enough."

"I would be happy to play anywhere the manager puts me. I am a team player. I will be working for the team regardless of which position I play in."

Rooney reportedly spent all of Tuesday's closed training session at England's Urca base playing in the No.10 role or alongside striker Daniel Sturridge in the middle.

His place in the team has been under threat following his display against Italy and he chose to train with England's reserves on Monday in a bid to hit top form.

However, Sterling is far from convinced that he has supplanted Rooney as the nation's No.10 and is still learning from his "world-class" team-mate.

He said: "We have been working really hard to try to do some interchanging with the positions. I don't think Wayne or anyone else has been moved to the side for me.

"I don't think the team [against Italy] was built around me necessarily. I just think the manager thought that was the right position for me at the time, with my pressing and my closing down. I don't think he changed anything for me.

"Some of the stuff Wayne does with the ball, you try to take little clips out of his play and try to really learn from that. He is a world-class player, I've watched him growing up.

"He is someone I looked up to, so to have trained with him at this camp has been a real honour. He works really hard and is always improving as well.

"For me, to play in the same team as Wayne Rooney is a real honour. To have someone like that to look up to is great."

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