MATT BARLOW: If Raheem Sterling was too tired in Estonia, he looked exhausted in Dublin during England’s goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
Sterling struggles against the Republic of Ireland, with his fall-off in form attracting more jeers. His second-half substitution seems like a mercyRaheem Sterling must be growing accustomed to the abuse by now. The undercurrent of dissent which had grumbled unnervingly around Anfield over the latter weeks of the campaign had given way recently to something more vociferous, whether overtly expressed at Liverpool’s end-of-season awards ceremony at the Echo Arena or within the Britannia Stadium as his side sank without trace on the season’s final afternoon. His life plays out with boos ringing in his ears these days and Dublin, across the Irish Sea, provided no respite.These are troubled times for Sterling. All that zest and effervescence the young man had displayed heading into last summer’s World Cup seems rather distant, the memories of his scuttling runs at back-tracking opponents, not least against Italy in Manaus, fading with every peripheral display. Back then his form had been a joy, his quality all too obvious, but the enthusiasm appears to have sapped away. The 60th game of his season was another plod, a mess of penalty appeals, complaints after tussles with Hull’s Robbie Brady, and a substitution midway through the second period which felt like a mercy. Continue reading…
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