Raheem Sterling: Hodgson happy to rest England man for Italy game

Raheem Sterling
Sterling asked to be left out of England's qualifier last October because he was tired

England boss Roy Hodgson is prepared to rest Liverpool's Raheem Sterling for Tuesday's friendly against Italy but says he is not under pressure to do so.

Sterling, 20, could play in Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania despite carrying a toe injury.

The forward was criticised last October when he asked to be left out of a qualifier against Estonia.

"If it's possible with the players we have to allow him to go back, we will allow him to do that," Hodgson said.

"I'm not being under pressure in that respect, I must make that clear."

Sterling's omission against Estonia earlier in the season caused a row between Hodgson and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, with the two managers also having a difference of opinion when Daniel Sturridge was injured while on England duty.

At the time, Hodgson said it was "unfair" if expectations to rest Sterling fell on him but Rodgers denied that he had put pressure on Hodgson to give the Liverpool youngster a break.

Hodgson said his considerations for Sterling's selection centred on his fitness for club and country over the next three months.

"We think about players and their health," Hodgson added. "It's an interesting run-in for Liverpool - they have a lot of to play for.

"He is a massive player for us in the June matches, and going forward, so we will talk with him, the doctors and Liverpool then hopefully we will make a wise decision."

Hodgson also said that the same criteria applied to Manchester City's James Milner, who has a knee problem.

Hodgson added: "I haven't decided. There are those two and others who we will have to take a very serious look at."

After England play Lithuania at home and Italy in Turin, they face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly on 7 June before another qualifier against Slovenia a week later.

England are top of Euro 2016 qualifying Group E with a 100% record after four matches.