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The former Three Lions manager thinks the winger will shine at international level this summer despite his mixed season for his club

Roy Hodgson has backed Raheem Sterling to be a key player for England at the Euros despite his lukewarm form at Manchester City.

Sterling extended his recent goal drought in a City shirt to 11 games after drawing another blank in their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace over the weekend.

The 26-year-old is no longer guaranteed a place in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI, but Hodgson – the man who handed the winger his England debut in 2012 – thinks he still has plenty to offer at international level.

What’s been said?

The ex-England boss, who is currently in charge at Palace, told reporters after Saturday’s Premier League clash: “I am a great admirer of Raheem, I think he is a fine player.

“It is a wonderful position to be in if you’re Pep Guardiola that you believe you have other players you prefer to use to Raheem, but I am pretty certain in terms of England, he will still be an important player and an important cog in the wheel because he has so much ability.

“The skill set he has and ability he has to beat people, get into goalscoring positions and score and set up chances, they are hard skillsets to find, and a great quality Raheem has got, and one I have always admired in him, is he is not a player who stays up there and waits for the ball to come to him.

“He makes certain he goes in search of it and when he loses it, he gets it back and plays an important role in the team’s defensive work. These are things we as coaches expect of our players these days, but it’s not always easy to get it.”

Who is Sterling’s competition?

Gareth Southgate is blessed with a plethora of high quality attacking options heading into the European Championships, which are due to kick off on June 11.

Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jesse Lingard will all be under consideration alongside Sterling, while Harry Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Greenwood and Ollie Watkins will also be in contention for forward berths.

Sterling’s record for City this term

Despite the fact Sterling has been in and out of Guardiola’s line up this term, he has still made an important contribution to City’s cause amid their quest for glory on both domestic and European fronts.

The England international has already added another Carabao Cup winners’ medal to his collection, with a third Premier League title set to follow and the Champions League also still up for grabs heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

However, Sterling has only hit 13 goals for City in 44 outings across all competitions to date – 18 less than he managed after eight more games in 2019-20.

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