26 Feb 2013 22:32

The lad's "zip has gone" confesses Rodgers - and "if he didn’t kick another ball this season he’s had a good one"

Reserve team player: Raheem Sterling of Liverpool competes with Michele Fornasier of Manchester United on February 25 Reserve team player: Raheem Sterling of Liverpool competes with Michele Fornasier of Manchester United on February 25

Andrew Powell

Brendan Rodgers will put protective wrapping around Raheem Sterling to ensure he isn’t a one-season wonder.

After exploding onto the Anfield scene at the start of the season, the 17-year-old winger has been out of the firing line in recent weeks.

He has played more games than any other squad member at Anfield bar Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, and Rodgers wants to avoid burn-out.

The Reds boss has explained to Sterling he’ll have to take a back seat over the coming months because he feels the relentless pressure of the Premier League is starting to take its toll.

“This is a kid we’re talking about, so we have to take a wee step back,” Rodgers confirmed. “This league is so mentally and physically draining, it hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy.

“The zip has gone and that’s down to fatigue. But was that to be expected? Yes it was. I was talking to him the other day about this, and if he didn’t kick another ball this season he’s had a good one.

“So we have to nurture him and protect him – it’s just a very demanding league.”

Filed under: Euro 2012

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