Raheem Sterling Called into England Squad to Replace Injured Tom Cleverley

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2013

SERRAVALLE, ITALY - OCTOBER 10:  Lorenzo Liverani of San Marino and Raheem Sterling of England in action during the 2015 UEFA European U21 Championships Qualifying Group 1 match between San Marino U21 and England U21 on October 10, 2013 in Serravalle, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has been added to the England national team ahead of a key World Cup qualifying match with Poland. He's replacing Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, who's dealing with a calf injury.

BBC Sport provided the roster update:

There's no doubting Sterling's talent. The 18-year-old rising star is one of the most promising young players in the Premier League. Whether he's ready to make a serious impact at the international level right now is very much in question, though.

Five of his six league appearances this season for the Reds have come off the bench. Perhaps head coach Roy Hodgson believes his familiarity with that role will benefit the Three Lions, but otherwise Sterling hasn't flashed the form usually necessary for a call-up.

Southampton star Adam Lallana was another option for Hodgson. He's enjoyed a very solid start to the campaign with the Saints and would have given England a more in-form option on the squad, but the coaching staff decided to go with youth instead.

Sterling joins a Three Lions group that picked up a key qualifying victory over Montenegro. It ensures the group controls its own World Cup destiny heading into the final match of Group H on Tuesday against Poland at Wembley Stadium.

It has very little margin for error, though. Ukraine is just one point back in the battle for the top spot and gets to face an overmatched San Marino side. So England must take care of business at home to advance to Brazil.

Hodgson and Co. decided Sterling was the best option to have available for the crucial match.