England are facing a battle with Jamaica for Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling’s international future.
Sterling, 17, who was born in Kingston, has represented England at schoolboy, Under-17 and Under-19 level, but international eligibility rules allow players to switch countries between youth and senior level.
Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore has confirmed he has made an attempt to lure the forward away from the England set-up to play for the country of his birth. Whitmore told STAR Sports: “We definitely showed an interest in Sterling before and we are just waiting on him now for the go-ahead.
“We have seen him a number of times, he is a quality player with a lot to offer this programme, but it’s up to him and the door is open. I don’t want to go into any further details but, as I said, he is definitely someone we have our eyes on and it’s all up to him now.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has already taken steps to prevent England pushing him too far, too quickly.
Stuart Pearce had considered fast-tracking the winger into England’s Under-21 squad for their latest Euro 2013 qualifying double header, which saw them beat Azerbaijan 2-0 on Thursday ahead of a meeting with Norway at Chesterfield on Monday night.
Rodgers talked the FA out of that idea in discussions with Sir Trevor Brooking, the director of football development. Instead, Sterling played 65 minutes for the Under-19 squad as they lost 3-1 to Germany in Hamburg on Thursday.
The Liverpool manager said recently: “I think, with young players, you have to be careful. They can be elevated above their station too quickly. It is all about individual needs. It might look great on the back pages that he is involved in the Under-21s but the reality is that this is a kid who has made great strides over the last few weeks.
“He was absolutely fantastic through pre-season. You have seen his quality, courage and attitude in games – it has been fantastic. But, for the moment, let’s just stay calm.”