15 Oct 2014

Carra warns: 'Dazzling' £31m LFC star is heading for career disaster, just like World Cup 'prodigy'

The Raheem Sterling 'tiredness' row continues to rumble on, with everyone from Alan Shearer to Frank Lampard having their say on the issue. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher insists that the 'dazzling' attacker is right to be wary of over-exerting himself, and he's compared the youngster's trajectory to that of one-time England 'prodigy' Michael Owen, a player who - unlike Sterling - irresponsibly pushed himself to the limit, with devastating consequences.

In his column for the Daily Mail this week, Carra defended Sterling's decision to pull out of the England starting line-up, and urged naysayers to look at the 'full picture'. He observed:

"Raheem is becoming like Michael [Owen]. with his pace and his importance to club and country, there have been signs over the last few weeks that such a punishing spell is beginning to catch up with him".

Michael Owen's injury problems basically destroyed his career, and it could be argued that Sterling is right to protect himself from inevitable burnout. I can certainly understand Alan Shearer's view on the issue, though. On Tuesday, the Newcastle legend scathed:

"The working man who is up at 6am and home at 8pm does not want to hear about how tired a 19-year-old professional footballer is. That is not just some cliche, it is what many people are thinking this morning"

Blaming Roy Hodgson is simply a way to avoid the real issue: £31m-rated Sterling and his grossly overpaid brethren are pampered beyond belief, and have a team of fitness/recovery lackeys at their beck and call.

Elite footballers are living the dream, and have every possible advantage handed to them on a plate, so it's a bit rich for Sterling to complain about being 'tired'.

Sterling has a shedload of downtime (i.e. recovery time), so if he's feeling 'tired', I submit that he needs to take another look at all aspects of his lifestyle, including diet/sleep patterns, and the qualitative nature of his assigned recovery time.

But, let's be fair here - Sterling does have to work a bone-crunching, fatigue-inducing 3-4 hours a day, which is incredibly difficult for a fit and healthy 19-year old to bear, so no wonder he's so knackered (!)

When all is said and done, it's England, so overall, I couldn't care less if Sterling pulls out of a game. If it means he remains uninjured for Liverpool, then all's well that ends well.

Going forward, when it comes to the effective management of Sterling's fitness, the buck stops with Brendan Rodgers. He has to be strong, and ignore the temptation to play him in every game.

I genuinely believe that if Sterling burns out, it will be Rodgers' fault. In most cases, players - if asked - will always say they're fit to play, but the manager has to be responsible, and rest players if/when it's warranted.



  1. a brave and right thing from sterling to ask for some rest as it surely affects his performance in the game and can be threatening to his career..it shows that this kid wants to be one of the greats and has got everything to be one..as managers were clearly neglecting his tiredness( i will say both roy and brendan ) so he himself took care of it (glad he did that in englands case :D)..every one could see a drop in his form and should be careful in future to get the best out of him..what is the point of getting a big squad if u face these problems.

    i hope brendan does not start both gerrard and sterling against QPR and ask them to focus completely on real madrid(cant see BR dropping them against madrid)..if he does (especially gerrard) then i will say there is a clear fault.

  2. I agree with the pay issue and the amount of time and care that gets put in to the player to make sure he is at his optimum etc. But Woy I feel could of handled the issue a bit differently if he wants to have a harmonic squad with two of his key players Sturridge and Sterling pulling in the right direction. Woy basically threw the boy under the bus irrespective of money the boy is only human.

  3. I dispute the notion that Sterling is complaining. I don't see him asking for sympathy or saying "poor me". He's not suggesting he has some long term issue or that he's consistently feeling run down. All that he did was tell the manager that he wasn't 100%. It's everyone else who has made an issue out if this. If the fans don't want to hear about player fatigue then that's up to the manager. Hodgson was the one who didn't pick him to start and then opened his big mouth so if there an issue with perception then that's down to him and how he handled the selection. Sterling has done absolutely nothing wrong. If anything he's helping to change the culture of playing on through injury or at less than peak fitness which, as this article suggests, can ruin careers. Getting exasperated over the notion that players are over pampered princesses is fairly dumb. They are elite athletes and not being fully fit is bad for the team and in this case the country. The best example for Liverpool fans is Jose Enrique. He had a period of poor form for a few months that was inexplicable until we learned about his knee problem. It's often just that 2-5% difference at the top level than can have a significant impact. Fatigue would have a similar effect. So the average fan's notion that a fitness concern is not serious enough to be genuine is well off the mark. ANY fitness problem will hurt performance and therefore hurt the team.

  4. I think it's more down to mental tiredness and loss of form rather than physical tiredness ...

    The pressure seems to be getting to him ... or to be more specific, he seems to put himself under enormous pressure to perform to the level of last season and beyond.

    Last season, with Suarez and Sturridge on fire and us being in unbelievable form and in a win/win situation, it was rather easy for Raheem to perform as there wasn't much pressure at all.

    This season, it's a totally different situation;

    - Loss of a key player (Luis Suarez).

    - High expectations = massive pressure, especially for the young ones.
    - Raheem Sterling in the spotlight.
    - Quite poor start to the season.
    - Integrating new players.

    That's what I think it all comes down to ...

    But why not slate the little fella for his honesty of being not in form and in the state to perform to his maximum potential and thus asking for a rest, because that's what we humans love to do more than anything anyway.

    If we are not able say any nice words about somebody or something, we choose to say bad words or talk badly about anybody or anything, instead of saying nothing at all.

    That's human nature, unfortunately.

  5. A lot of people are choosing to overlook that this has been a world cup year! Sterling has been playing non stop with the exception of a three week break. On top of that he is playing England Friendlies, qualifiers, CL, league cup and almost every league game.

    The problem here doesn't stem from Sterling being tired alone, it is that this kid supposedly wouldn't run through burning coal to play for the country he migrated to. The press and a section of England die hards hate to see a player who wouldn't die to have the three lions on their shirt which is why the images I have attached were pushed by the media at every opportunity. According to the above mentioned every England footballer should be prepared to have blood gushing out of every orafice at any given moment and tiredness shouldn't even come into it!

    Believe it or not Sterling is a footballer. He IS NOT...and I repeat NOT a soldier fighting for England during the second world war. The two dont and will never equate so the press and peoples opinions in general need to be updated fast.

  6. heres another favourite

  7. Can't care less for England. They will win F'all under clueless Woy.
    You need not play your best players for international games with minnows like Estonia for fcuk sake.

    Rodgers will probably not play Sterling this weekend and keep him fresh for Real Madrid.

  8. But Jaimie, where's your evidence that Sterling has a bad lifestyle outside of football? You suggest that he looks at diet, sleep and etc, but that's just implying an assumption that it could be improved, yet ultimately, you probably have absolutely no idea about how he uses his spare time anyway.

    Seriously, it's all well and good for the working class man to criticise Sterling about complaining of tiredness, but quite frankly, Sterling's job is a lot different to the working class man's. If Sterling wants to make the most of his career, he needs to treat it with a lot of care when he's young. He didn't just fall into being a professional footballer, he had to work hard from a young age to separate himself from all of the other talents.

    This is why Shearer, and you Jaimie, are being quite ignorant. The average working man does those long hours every day because they can afford to. It's not going to hurt their career whatsoever. Sterling's occupation dictates that he goes about things a different way, otherwise his career will being to quickly decline, and be cut short.

    Put simply, If Sterling treats his football with the mentality of the average 10 hour/day working man, he will f*** his career up.

  9. And in all of the above tournaments those photos were taken how many trophies did the team win in the end.....none. So even with all the blood and guts they still lose. A change of culture is required where players are fit and ready to perform, if not then another player steps in, and Sterling should be applauded for being honest. What's the point of having a half fit player up against a fully fit opponent, totally ineffective and leads to probable defeat. The difference between winning and losing these days can be a very small percentage. To be fair, most of us who turn up at work can get away with a bad day at less than 100% or even 0%. In football it can mean you lose and you're out. This was a minor match and it was wise he didn't play, give others a run. It was not wise for Roy to blab about it just because he's from the old era of blood and guts and he's having a spat with BR. England need to move on and find a progressive manager, until that happens they will win nothing. Personally I would love to see all Liverpool players retire from international football, waste of friggin time.

  10. Brendan tried to pull ferguson kind of a move and told Sterling to say this Woy saw through this and went public in order to have everyone on his side for the next match. It`s a war between club and country manager and it has been going on for ages, we are able to see it this time due to lack of class/experience.

  11. in 6 days we play Real Madrid, quite a leap from Estonia.

  12. Did Woy need him vs Estonia and do we need him vs QPR?

  13. Spirit of the Shadows9:58 am, October 16, 2014

    Hodgson making a mountain out of a molehill. He should have kept his mouth shut.

  14. I think I am going to side with the sports therapy people who work with Sterling everyday on this. Those and the real thinkers in the game like Cara and (as much as I don't like it) Neville. Sterling is actually still growing and should know his own body much better than any self styled pundits. Personally if Shearer told me the sky was blue I would still check.

  15. Also when will people stop talking about the hours worked instead of the actual stress on the body. Anyone who did GCSE PE knows about how we build muscle and the effects and strain on the body through exercise. Even a hard session in the gym you will be feeling a couple of days time and every expert says to exercise different body parts so as to avoid injury.

  16. Also, I find it a little irritating that Shearer's opinion is given more attention than perspectives from sports science professionals who actually know what they're talking about. Experts like, you know, Raymond Verheijen, who thinks that Roy Hodgson made himself look like a bloody idiot with this 'I don't buy the 2 day rule' nonsense.

  17. I do not get what the fuss is all about from the media. Sterling is just 19 for god's sakes. In some countries, that is just a legal driving age. Most people his age are in college so I do not know how a comparison can be made. His body has not developed and that is the reason players reach their peak in their mid twenties. Roy needed an excuse for an abject performance against Estonia and he is hiding behind Sterling. He did not talk about how poor his team was and just talked about Sterling. That should not be tolerated and Roy should be chastised for this but he never would be.

  18. We dont know how many players have done this in the past because it was handled properly, this time it was handled wrong. I am sure most of those mouth pieces like shearer have been rested in their day at some point. I can remember a time when the great Ronnie Wheelan (god bless him) refused to play a game for Rep of Ireland because he had a sore finger but played that weekend for Liverpool, other players dont play because they have "a tummy bug" or "a bout of the flu", or his "granny died....again" (stephen ireland).... Usain bolt , mo farah and others will pull out of races they are due to run because they have more important races to run in the future, trainers will take horses out of races to rest them for the big one, it happens in every sport, even golf for god sake, the Michael Owen example is a perfect one, in his early twenties he was asked what he would like for christmas by a reporter and he said two new hamstrings. By the way a lot of people are assuming that it is just physical tiredness, maybe it could be mental fatigue also there is a lot of pressure and expectation being heaped on a young lad's shoulders. In my opinion he was right to go to his "gaffer". if he diidnt play well and was taken off by hodgson he would have been slated and called "england flop" by the red top rags and what would that have done for his head and confidene.

  19. Absolutely. He cowardly threw Sterling under the bus and kept talking about our training methods so as to take the stink off his own management.

  20. The only person displayed ignorance here is you, without cock-eyed notion of the 'working man'.

    The average working man does those long hours 'because they can afford to'?! Give me a break. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    When it comes to professional footballers, there is a a small, finite list of reasons why a player may be tired, and I've merely suggested that one of those reason *may* be related to the nature of Sterling's downtime. That is a perfectly reasonable point to make.

    And no one said that Sterling should treat his football with mentality of the average 'working man', which just shows that you've completely misunderstood Shearer's point in every possible way.

  21. thexcuriousxwanderer1:02 pm, October 16, 2014

    I don't see the problem. Regardless of how much he is paid, if the right thing is to stand up and say he is tired so that he can extend his career for club and country, so that in the long run all three parties benefit, then he should be applauded, rather than criticised like this.

    The problem is that he is still a growing boy, and it is unreasonable to physically expect the same thing out of him as a fully developed man. That means it is unreasonable to compare him to Ronaldo or Messi or whoever. Why can't the critics see this?

    I also think Roy is a dumbass, and total PR failure (it seems that he hasn't learnt from his days at Liverpool, a walking disaster.) As a manager, you need to protect your players for them to trust you and have belief in you. Why can't he just say Sterling was physically unfit for the match, instead of answering in a way (even though it is the truth) that turns the press against the youngster? That's the last thing Sterling needs, and if there is a dip in form because of this, Roy should be held responsible and fined.

  22. If the mental pressure is getting to Sterling, perhaps he should get his head down, focus on football, and stop holding LFC to ransom over a new lucrative contract.

  23. Of course they can afford to! Sure, it may have some effect on their bodies, but it's affecting every other man doing it, isn't it? So it balances out.
    Raheem however cant afford to be too tired, because it's going to stuff his career up if he's not too careful. Not every 19 year old professional is a big focal point of his club and national team. A lot of other equally talented dudes his age are slowly coming through the ranks, developing their bodies at a healthy pace, and then they'll have the competitive advantage over Raheem not only on the field but in the squad too if Raheem burns himself out.

    To me, you're not just 'merely suggesting' that it could be improper use of downtime. Telling someone re-assess their lifestyle because they're feeling too tired strongly implies that you believe his downtime is in fact very likely mis-used. You said everything is handed to him on a plate, while you lament that despite that, he's still tired. So IMO, that exposes your belief that it is improper use of downtime.

    I think Shearer does want Raheem to connect with the working man attitude. What he's saying is, 'the working man wants you to toughen up and play, just like they toughen up and work long hours'. If Shearer doesn't want Sterling to have this attitude that he's too tired, then what is he asking of him? If he weren't injured, what other excuse was there for not playing? Sounds like he's suggesting that Raheem otherwise toughen up like an average working man and just do his job, i.e. play that Euro qualifier. Or, he wants Sterling to fake an injury, which is a lot more immoral than being honest.

    Anyway, I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion, and I don't think people have adopted the correct interpretation of the word 'tired'. If he said that in a construction site, he'd deserve to be criticised. But in this case, 'tired' means, 'Hey dickhead, I'm 19 years old, yet being asked to play 3 competitive games in less than 2 weeks. Enough is enough.'

  24. thexcuriousxwanderer1:31 pm, October 16, 2014

    Also Jamie, I did some "research" (aka Googling). Olympic level athletes train 23 hours a week on the average, more or less depending on the sport. In that light, 3-4 hours sounds reasonable, and the limit is there to avoid burnout.

    I guess no matter how many (!) you put, that is the reality. I don't see how that is "rich". If they are living the dream, all the more they should be taking care of themselves to make sure they are in shape to perform optimally (or at least somewhat able to keep up high standards, especially in the case of a league), rather than push themselves hard and set up the scene for a bad injury.

  25. Re Sterling being the 'focal point of the national team' - what exactly has he done for England? Absolutely nothing of note. It's all media hype. Sterling is a nobody on the international stage, yet he's made out to be some kind of national saviour. Typical British media BS.

  26. true......but that's not Sterlings fault, all he's done is play football, and reportedly said I'm tired, then the same Typical British media BS'ers take a pop at him and try to take him down, if he was tired, played and had a bad game they would have taken him down for that...he's damned if he does and damned if he does'nt

  27. Right. So what happens in another 8 months if Sterling continues to be a star performer - give him another pay-rise? Where does it end?

    It's Sterling's job to be a star performer, and play to the best of his ability; that's why he earns £50k a week (or whatever the real figure is).

  28. Wage and lifestyle envy. Pure and simple.
    No, let's have Raheem be just like Owen and burnout in a short few seasons, playing whatever his body tells him in true Bulldog Spirit.
    Because the average working man works down t'pit 20 hrs a day for tu'pence a month...
    Ryan Giggs played a maximum of 7 games a year for Wales, because he had a dominant manager who bullied the national team manager into not adding further to hs workload where it would have a negative effect long term or even short term.
    Which is partly why he played on for 20 odd years
    Or he could be another Owen. I mean, EVERYBODY loves him for playing on regardless for England don't they?
    I know which I'd prefer.....

  29. I think that its unfortunate that Roy managed to simplify what Raheem is feeling into the word "tired". Its clearly so much more than that but thats what Hodgson said and its left sterling open to huge criticism. fact is that Raheem has been off form since the last international fixtures (its just hard to see because hes still the best player on the pitch)

    If Hodgson was above useless he'd have seen the drop in form and rested him against officially the worst team in the world. but he didnt and this is the fall out. fact is that neither liverpool nor england should have to rely on a 19 year old kid to win them every single game.

  30. He didn't just say he was tired which is the bit that's picked up.
    He also said that he didn't feel right, which could be anything from recovering from illness, slight sprain, bruised muscles or anything else.

  31. To many people who see themselves as experts making money (doing interviews,writing blogs etc) on the back of Sterling (the new Suarez space filler). IMO ... Sterling has a much much more bone crunching,fatigue inducing day, even in 3-4 hrs than people who sit at a desk and type etc for 8-10 hrs.

  32. Of course it's being driven by him and not a truth telling Agent, but just as you and i will negotiate the best deal we can get (financially), whether for adds on a website or pay in the workplace, he's entitled to do likewise !

  33. Which ever way you fall on this issue, one thing should be clear, these players are not property to be exploited, they are for the most part, kids.. There is this bizarre assumption that we own everything footballers do, and we have a right to be angry or voice discontent when they don't do what we demand of them... They are ultimately nothing more than a source of unrealistic expectation by most fans, and most can't see past the wages these players earn... Whether it be jealous anger or just an inability to see past our own demanding desire to be entertained, we should remember, these kids have earned the right to the wages they earn.. They are a minute percentage of the players who actually work hard enough to succeed, and they have earned the right to make the right decision for their own health and fitness... The idea they are nothing more than property is insulting and ridiculous.... I couldn't careless if it annoys a bloke who goes to work at 6am and comes home at 8pm... Thats his/her life, they made their decisions and are living the life the way they choose, and would be extremely put out if we all started making unrealistic demands of them and judging their lives, or the amount of money they earn... Why are Sports stars any different..

  34. Totally disagree with this post, it has nothing to do with money. Footballers earn good money, good on them they deserve it. But to say the working man actually works harder is a load of bs. Exhaustion affects every human being regardless of how much they earn.

  35. I know he's relatively done nothing, however considering how he's performed compared to rest of the England players recently, he suddenly looks more important to them.

  36. What have his contract talks to do with this entirely different matter ...

    He wasn't complaining about having to play for England or such a thing, he just made it clear to the real "Mike Bassett", that he is struggling for form at the moment and being not as fresh as he normally would be ... (who knows why is that, but it's understandable imo.)

    Young players like Raheem tend to focus too much on football, thus putting themselves under a lot of pressure and struggling to perform to the level when they first got a run of games in the first team. Hence, managers always talking about protecting young players ...

    I think, that Brendan would be wise to use Sterling as an impact sub and take him out of the spotlight for a while ... it can only help him getting back to his best.