Rodgers: Sterling should accept ‘incredible’ deal

Arsenal v Leicester: Tonight: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling’s agents the club will not be held to ransom over his new contract.

The Reds boss said the 20-year-old has been made an “incredible” offer on a new deal, which has been on the table for over a month.

However, Sterling is yet to sign despite indications previously an agreement was imminent, but Rodgers said the club had been generous in their offer. “The club has offered an incredible deal for a young player and I have spoken to Raheem a number of times and he is very happy here and I think you see that in his game,” said Rodgers.

“The player is very happy and wants to continue working the way he has been. He has made some great strides in these last couple of years and has now got reward for that and hopefully his representatives can find agreement with the club.

“What he has been granted here is an opportunity — we see it with lots of young players — and they get rewarded for that but we are certainly not a club who are going to give out way, way above what a player is worth at a certain time in a career.

“We want to reward our best talents as they are a big part of our future and we are confident that will all be in hand and sorted very soon.”

Rodgers has nurtured Sterling through a difficult period off the pitch over the last couple of years, when he found himself embroiled in a couple of court cases, and has been rewarded with impressive performances.

However, he has been keen to keep the England international grounded during a rapid rise which saw him go to last summer’s World Cup.

And Rodgers wants to ensure he and other youngsters do not get distracted by the trappings of fame and fortune.

“It is very important for young players, not just Raheem, that they have something to strive for,” he added.

“If they get too much, too young then it really sabotages their development. That is why we communicate with the player and their advisers — if they have advisers.

“If they are given sound advice, they will see that. It is about mapping out the career of a player, it is not just about this deal.

“In Raheem’s case we believe this will be the best place for him and I believe he knows that as well.”

Another youngster Jordon Ibe shares the same birthday, albeit a year younger, as Sterling and parallels have already been drawn between the two.

Ibe was man of the match in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, only his second Premier League start, and Rodgers has high hopes he can make similar progress to his fellow youngster. “He is a very talented player. If he was a foreign player everyone would be raving about him,” he added.

Ibe may have to settle for a place tonight but midfielder Lucas Leiva is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a thigh problem.

Meanwhile Mousa Dembele believes the best is yet to come from Spurs, suggesting they can challenge for the title in the coming years. Things are looking up again at White Hart Lane, with a trip to Wembley for the Capital One Cup on the horizon, as well as a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, as they proved beating Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday.

Asked if this Spurs team are capable of challenging for the title in the coming years, the Belgian said: “Yeah, you see as well how the club works now, the feeling that they want to keep a lot of players here. Everybody knows if the team is together for a long time, it gets easier and easier.”

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