'Excuse me for being human'
Sterling defends himself against criticism on social media
England forward Raheem Sterling has hit back at his critics after coming under fire for not starting yesterday morning's (Singapore time) win in Estonia due to fatigue.
The Liverpool youngster was used as a second-half substitute in the Euro 2016 qualifying win in Tallinn, which England won 1-0, after manager Roy Hodgson revealed the player was tired.
Hodgson said Sterling, 19, who is regarded as one of the team's key players, had complained of fatigue on the eve of the match.
"He said, 'I'm feeling tired, I'd rather sit this one out'," Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 Live.
That prompted considerable debate, with Sterling himself receiving critical messages on Twitter. The player responded by tweeting: "Now listening too.. Excuse me for being human?? omw home."
Sterling also retweeted two of the messages he received.
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has jumped to the defence of Sterling, whose performances over the past year have made him vital for club and country.
Ferdinand tweeted: "Sterling - tired, fair play to him. English players are normally too proud to do that unlike our foreign friends. #FreshWhenItMattersMost.
"If you want your team/players to play at their best when out there, then 'rest' at the right times is an important element.
"With more rest at the right times throughout seasons (Wayne) Rooney would have gone into tournaments for England fresher 100%.... Too proud again.
"Same could be said of (Steven) Gerard (sic), (Frank) Lampard, JT (John Terry), A.Cole (Ashley Cole) myself etc-all too proud to sit out of training or a match with the bigger picture in mind."
Danny Murphy, who played under Hodgson for three years at Fulham, criticised his former boss' handling of the issue.
The former Liverpool and England midfielder feels Hodgson should not have publicly divulged the fact that Sterling asked to be rested for the match.
"I think Roy will regret putting it out there," Murphy told talkSPORT.
"I think he could have just maybe taken it on the chin and said, 'I thought I'd give him a little breather', rather than put it on the lad.
"He wouldn't have intentionally put it on him to create this, but I think Roy could have dealt with it differently.
"The way he plays, with that power and that speed, he gives everything and he needs to be on top of his game.
"If he is genuinely tired and he was honest for the team, then fair play to him.
"Let's not make it a great deal. The lad has expressed it, Roy has made the decision not to play him and we have won."
- PA Sport.