Roy Hodgson has urged out-of-sorts Liverpool and England forward Raheem Sterling to develop “a thicker skin” after he was barracked by Republic of Ireland supporters in Sunday’s dismal friendly at the Aviva Stadium.
Sterling has come in for abuse from Liverpool fans after opting against signing a new contract and continues to be linked with a move away from Anfield.
Ireland fans also targeted the 20-year-old in Dublin before he was substituted in the second half after an ineffective display in a drab goalless draw.
Sterling also suffered from a dip in form for Liverpool towards the end of the season and England manager Hodgson has urged the youngster to knuckle down and come through a turbulent time.
He said: “I think he’s going through a bad time publicly. You can’t expect people just to shrug off the criticism he has been receiving, not least from the local media in Liverpool. That becomes national pretty quickly.
“He does ever so well and tries well to shrug it off, let his football do the talking. He needed this game to realise that, if he is going to get it out of his system, he’s going to have to work harder still and get a thicker skin than he has at the moment.”
Hodgson also added that his decision to replace Sterling does not mean he has lost faith in the unsettled 20-year-old.
“We only took him off today was to give others the game, to air the squad,” he added.
“I trust Sterling. But players are not robots. He’s done some fantastic things for us, but today he didn’t hit those heights. It’ll take a lot before I and the English national team sway from Raheem Sterling.”