'Sterling would be very foolish not to sign contract with Liverpool,' says Brendan Rodgers as Man City and Chelsea hover
Published 30/11/2012 | 10:52
Brendan Rodgers believes Raheem Sterling would be "very foolish" not to commit himself to Liverpool.
The 17-year-old winger has burst onto the scene this season, starting 13 out of 14 Barclays Premier League matches and earning an England debut in the friendly against Sweden.
He turns 18 on December 8, with the club currently in negotiations over a first professional contract.
The player has already intimated new terms can wait until his birthday, and Rodgers has stressed he is confident there will not be any hitches, but that has not stopped the speculation about the teenager's future.
Rodgers knows how valuable Sterling can be to his side but he believes it is a two-way street and has urged him to recognise the importance of the Reds in his development.
"It's important for the club to sign our young talent - but it's even more important for Raheem," Rodgers told reporters.
"If you are 17 and playing regularly, you would be very foolish not to commit yourself very quickly.
"This is a club that is going to give young players an opportunity and he has played more games than he could have dreamed of this season, both in the Premier League and the Europa League.
"Liverpool have given him the chance to become a full international player.
"If I was Raheem Sterling and his agents, I would look to tie it up very quickly.
"Raheem's (contract) has been ongoing really."
The club and his representatives are in good dialogue and communication and hopefully we will get that resolved very soon, but there is no timescale."
Although Sterling has been a key performer in Rodgers' first season at Anfield, the Northern Irishman accepts there will come a point when he will need to be rested for his own benefit.
Rodgers has no concerns about the physical demands on the player but accepts he may require a mental break.
"There will be at some point and we'll need to give him a breather, there's no question," said the Reds boss.
"He's a very young man and is still learning the game. He still has technical elements he needs to improve upon and tactical elements.
"But one of the biggest things is psychological at this level - real mental fatigue can set in."He's been terrific so far. He's got to this stage at the end of November and been absolutely brilliant, but at some point he will need that breather.
"He's been one of our leading players, but for the benefit of Raheem it'll be something I'll need to consider."