Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers cites Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen as he vows to protect Raheem Sterling from burnout
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has vowed to protect Raheem Sterling from burn-out to ensure his career is not curtailed like teenage predecessors Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
Owen and Fowler burst onto the scene from youth football but peaked in their early 20s, injuries taking their toll as their career progressed.
Owen now admits he played too much, too soon, his hamstrings needing constant supervision after his initial breakthrough.
Fowler was also at his most devastating during his first three years at Liverpool before he too paid, eventually sold after suffering numerous injuries.
Sterling is now being seen as the player to carry England into the next European Championships, as well as being pivotal to Liverpool’s continued rise, but Rodgers will heed the warnings from history.
“Some managers would take the stance of ‘I don’t care’ because you might only be in a job for three, four, five years so make sure he plays as much as he can for you,” said Rodgers. “But I have welfare for the boy. I think it has to be critical that, in 10 years’ time, he is approaching his peak, as opposed to having played his best games. When he gets to 28 and if he has got too many miles on the clock and he is burned out, that is something we will have to look at.