Football: Rodgers displays Sterling qualities in calmly deflecting controversy 

Sterling's departure last weekend from Liverpool Football Club dominated discussions about the club's 2015 Asian tour, which officially kicked off at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok on Monday evening.
Sterling's departure last weekend from Liverpool Football Club dominated discussions about the club's 2015 Asian tour, which officially kicked off at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok on Monday evening.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - The saga caused by Raheem Sterling's departure last weekend from Liverpool Football Club dominated discussions about the club's 2015 Asian tour, which officially kicked off at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok on Monday evening. 

Manager Brendan Rodgers was guarded in his response to questions about the 20-year-old, who is on the threshold of becoming the most expensive English player in history, following the agreement on Sunday over his £49m (S$103 million) transfer to Manchester City.

 "The situation currently is very, very simple," said Rodgers, who also denied that he fell out with the England international. "The club has agreed with another club a deal for Raheem to be transferred and subject to (a) medical, that will go through.

"Contrary to probably the last week or so in terms of what was written, Raheem and I have always remained very strong in our relationship and have been right until we left (for Bangkok). So there's no issue there."

 

Questions about Sterling, who asked to be omitted from the Reds' Asian tour before confirmation of his transfer deal, even eclipsed media queries relating to Jordan Henderson, the club's new captain.

When greeted with a follow-up question about Sterling, Rodgers' response was deadpan. "As I said, at this moment in time, it's only about the players who have travelled here. There's no issue, no problem. The two clubs have agreed (and) he will move on. Now, the interest is with the players who are here in Bangkok."

 Responding to The Straits Times' question about what he expected of Henderson in his role as captain, the manager was more relaxed.

"Jordan Henderson is very loyal, very honest and he's a young player who's on the way up. At 24 years of age, I still think he has great improvements to make. He's a wonderful role model for the football club and a great ambassador.

"He's obviously learnt a lot from Steven (Gerrard) in the course of the last year and I think he'll step into that role. He'll have his own methods and his own ideas and his own way of captaining the group. I believe in his vision for the future and I'm very sure he'll respond to that in a very positive way."