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November 15, 2012
Star Sport


JFF boss admits defeat in Sterling chase
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

England's Jamaican-born Raheem Sterling warms up before their Group H 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Ukraine at Wembley stadium, London, recently. Sterling was an unused substitute. - AP

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, has given up the pursuit of teenage sensation Raheem Sterling after meeting with England's manager Roy Hodgson.

Burrell, who is currently in London, had intended to try and persuade the Liverpool starlet to join the Reggae Boyz squad ahead of the final stage of World Cup qualifying, but is now resigned to the fact that Sterling's future is with England.

"It is very difficult and almost nonsensical for a young player at his age to be called to the England team, to be a starter, and not accept," Burrell said.

"My concern was always to know if he was just being called to keep him away from Jamaica. It is clear that England has a plan for him and it is not just to keep him away from Jamaica, as I was told by the England coach, who sat with me during the Chelsea versus Liverpool game. I told him that based on that we will not pursue Sterling any longer."

Burrell believes Sterling is in good hands, as he was previously coached by Hodgson at the club level.

"Roy Hodgson was the coach who gave him his debut at Liverpool, so he therefore believes in him, and he is now the coach of England, so that is going to make it even easier for Sterling," Burrell told Star Sports.

"On that note, I would agree with the youngster sticking with England."

Sterling, at 17 years and 342 days, became the fifth-youngest player to represent the Lions after turning out for England's senior men's national team yesterday in an international friendly against Sweden.

He is, however; still eligible to represent Jamaica as it was not an official match but a friendly.

Sterling joined Queens Park Rangers academy when he was 10 years old before moving to Liverpool at the age of 15 in February 2010. He has played in 10 of Liverpool's 11 Premier League games this season, scoring his first senior goal in the 1-0 victory over Reading on October 20.

His form for his club prompted Hodgson to call him up for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in September, but he did not play. The player has also represented England at the Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21 levels.

"When I spoke with Sterling's manager I was told that he has plans to do some clinics in Jamaica at a future date because he wants to work with the youngsters in Jamaica at some stage and he is committed to his country," Burrell said.

Captain Horace Burrell

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