Raheem Sterling will start for England against Iceland, according to widespread reports.
The Manchester City winger will be recalled to the side after Adam Lallana suffered an ankle injury scare, on the right side of a forward line that includes Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane.
Hodgson’s decision should hardly be controversial given Lallana’s knock, but is made so by the reaction of England supporters to Sterling during the Wales match. The winger was booed by his own fans during the first half.
Since then, Pep Guardiola has contacted Sterling to offer him his own support, and told him that he will be part of his first-team plans at Manchester City.
Sterling has branded himself ‘the hated one’ after twice being booed by England supporters, and is evidently suffering from confidence issues. Quite why those fans think that booing a young player is the way to spark improvement is unclear. Perhaps, and this is a speculative shout, they are morons.
However, Wayne Rooney says that there is no lasting issue with Sterling’s belief.
“From what I’ve seen, his state of mind is fine. He’s been normal around the camp. What we’ve seen on the training pitch of Raheem Sterling, he’s been fantastic, sharp, taking players on, scoring goals.
“There’s no issue with Raheem at all. His attitude isn’t questioned.
“He’s a huge asset to us as a team, a fantastic player and one who can turn the game in a split second.
“If anyone is questioning his attitude or state of mind, they’d be mistaken in having that judgment.”