Is England's Sterling defending himself against his critics?

Raheem Sterling, 19, was dropped to the bench for Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier - after telling England manager Roy Hodgson he felt below his best, both mentally and physically, during training 24 hours before kick-off in Tallinn.

That revelation has led England fans to criticise him for being lazy.



And these are some of the "nicer" tweets that we pulled.

The 19-year-old though did not take this lying down.

He retweeted some of the abuse directed at him and then rather cryptically tweeted this:

The plot thickens?

In any case, Hodgson has come out to defend his decision to rest the teenager - saying that Sterling's fatigue left him with no choice but the bench.

"We were just about to have a light session at the Grove and he ( Sterling) said, ‘I feel tired and I don’t think I am in my best form at the moment’,” Hodgson said.

“I admire his honesty for telling me. It was two days after the San Marino game when we did a lot of running then because we had a lot of the ball.

“I had two players - one was telling me he is tired, a little bit jaded. and the other is full of beans so we put the one on that is full of beans and left the other as sub," he added.

Beans, in case you are wondering, refer to the English idioms as being full of energy.

While he was dropped from the first team, he did came on in the second half to play a small part in England's winning goal.

He won the freekick, which Wayne Rooney scored from. 

Sources: AFP, Twitter

Related report: Euro 2016 qualifiers: England struggle to beat 10-man Estonia 

Raheem Sterling