England: Steven Gerrard says 'too much pressure' on youngsters

England's Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling, who turns 20 in December, has won 11 England caps
Euro 2016 qualifier: England v Slovenia
Venue: Wembley Date: Saturday, 15 November Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary via the BBC Sport website, app and mobile devices

Former England captain Steven Gerrard says there is "too much pressure" on the national team's young players.

Raheem Sterling, 19, and Ross Barkley, 20, are set to play in Saturday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia.

Sterling was criticised after manager Roy Hodgson said he asked to miss the Estonia qualifier, while Barkley has been compared to captain Wayne Rooney.

"Maybe our country is guilty of putting too much pressure and spotlight on one individual," Gerrard told ITV Sport.

England captain Wayne Rooney

"You start to see similar things now with Raheem Sterling."

Manchester United striker Rooney, 29, is in line to win his 100th England cap at Wembley on Saturday.

He made his debut in 2003 as a 17-year-old, the same age as Sterling when he won his first England cap in 2012.

"It is his own fault for being so good," Gerrard, 34, said of Liverpool team-mate Sterling.

"It is only normal he is getting all the attention. Wayne has had it for years but he has handled it well.

"It has always been the way. The media and punters try to grasp on to that one hero and hope he is going to be the person who makes everyone happy at a major tournament."

Gerrard defended Sterling after Hodgson said the teenager asked to sit out October's qualifier against Estonia because of fatigue.

Liverpool captain Gerrard, who retired from international football in July, said at the time: "The media and the public have got to be behind this kid because he's going to be the best player in the country."

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