Henderson hails superb Sterling

Jordan Henderson, pictured left, is thoroughly impressed by his England team-mate Raheem Sterling, right

Jordan Henderson, pictured left, is thoroughly impressed by his England team-mate Raheem Sterling, right

First published in National Sport © by

Raheem Sterling has been "outstanding" ever since he broke into the England team and Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson believes there is no limit to his potential.

Four and a half years ago the Reds beat the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal to the signature of QPR's nippy Jamaican-born attacker.

Sterling, like so many preciously-talented teenagers, was hailed as a wonder kid but is one of few to look as if he is getting anywhere near to fulfilling the hype.

At the age of 19, he has established himself as a first-team regular at Liverpool as well as an increasingly important member of the England team.

He was one of few players to impress during the summer's disastrous World Cup campaign and has started the season wonderfully, following up a man-of-the-match display in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Tottenham by winning the same award just days later as England defeated Norway 1-0.

"I think Raheem has been outstanding since he's come into the England first team," Liverpool and England team-mate Henderson said after the match.

"I thought he was outstanding in both games at the World Cup. For a 19-year-old to play on the world stage like that I thought he was magnificent.

"He continues to do it every week for Liverpool and he got man of the match again against Norway, so he's a very level-headed for a young lad his age. His football brain is not as young as that.

"He's really clever with his positioning. He drives forward the ball. Hopefully he can continue improving and working hard.

"Raheem plays with no fear. He just wants to get the ball run at people and take them on."

Henderson hopes Sterling continues that fine form on Monday, when England begin their European Championship qualifying campaign with arguably their toughest match of Group E in Switzerland.

A similarly impressive display may well tip the balance in England's favour at St Jakob-Park and would only see his star rise further.

Henderson believes Sterling will thrive under such scrutiny and, having seemingly sorted out some off-field issues, backed him to kick on.

"I think he was 16 when I first saw him training with us," he said. "You could see he had the mentality to be a top player, but we try to keep his feet on the ground.

"He's got the right people around him at the club and off the field as well. If he keeps working hard, with the players and the manager he has at Liverpool he can really kick on.

"I don't think he's going to get carried away by it. He's got the right people around him off the field for Liverpool and England. I'm sure he'll keep his feet on the ground."

But as a young millionaire doing a job you love, how hard is it to not get distracted?

"It's not that difficult," Henderson said with a wry smile. "It just depends what type of person you are.

"You have to concentrate on your football and not let anything outside affect you, enjoy playing and work as hard as you can in training, try to improve your game all the time.

"I think that's really important as well."

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