Sterling was among the worst performers in a collective effort so uninspiring even ITV, the match broadcasters, apologised to fans via a series of sarcastic tweets.
The forward, who has been ridiculed over his desire to leave Liverpool this summer, was booed from start to finish at the Aviva Stadium, with Republic of Ireland supporters mocking the 20-year-old right up until the 66th minute when he was substituted for Andros Townsend. Hodgson said: ‘I think he’s going through a bad time publicly. You can’t expect people just to shrug off the criticism he has been receiving.
‘He tries to shrug it off, to let his football do the talking. If he is going to get it out of his system, he’s going to have to work harder still and get a thicker skin than he has at the moment.
‘We only took him off to give others the game, to air the squad.’
Despite the ineffectiveness of his showing in the 0-0 draw, Hodgson insisted he would have no hesitation in using Sterling against Slovenia in their Euro 2016 qualifier next Sunday. He said: ‘I trust Sterling. But players are not robots. He’s done some fantastic things for us, but here he didn’t hit those heights. It’ll take a lot before I and the national team sway from Raheem.’
Sterling was far from alone in a performance that extended England’s unbeaten run to 10 yet was totally bereft of imagination.
A drastic improvement would be needed in the likely event that England qualify for next summer’s European Championship and Hodgson added: ‘The intention can be there to do the right things, but sometimes it doesn’t work. There have been games when things have gone for us in terms of our play, more than they did here.
‘But I think it’s important we are critical and continue to set ourselves high standards. We want to go to France and we’ll have to play better than we did here. Ireland defended exceptionally well and were more than worth the draw.
‘We’ve had a good run but we came here believing if we played our best football we could win. But we never got close to that. We didn’t lose, but we have to accept there were a lot of things we could have done better.’ – Daily Mail
Original source: Sterling needs thicker skin - Hodgson