Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher says the saga surrounding, and off field behaviour of, winger Raheem Sterling is a distraction to the team.
The 20-year-old, who is currently embroiled in a long running contract dispute has been linked with a move away from Anfield this summer should he not reach a resolution, and was pictured both using a shisha pipe and inhaling nitrous oxide.
Sterling is said to have had talks with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers following the two incidents, but Carragher believes it gets in the way of other things.
Quoted in BBC Sport he said, “Even if you don’t talk about it, it is in the background.Rodgers is asked the day before a game, when he should be talking football he’s thinking about Sterling.”
The young England winger conducted an interview with BBC Sport in which he explained how he had turned down a new contract offer worth £100,000 per week before explaining it was not about the money, though the media appearance was unauthorised.
Carragher, who appeared 737 times in a Liverpool shirt and is second on the club’s all time appearance list believes the interview could be an issue and Sterling should learn from it.
He said, “As young players, and I have been guilty myself, we have made mistakes but hopefully this will be a maturing point for him.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers echoes the thoughts of Carragher and said that the winger, who is nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, will look back on recent events in the future and “wonder what he was doing”.
The former Liverpool defender turned Sky Sports pundit, Carragher, believes that if Sterling continues this progression, it could be time for a team mate to speak to him and said, “If it continually happens you know you’ve got a problem and you may need to pull someone and have a word with them.”