Sterling happy to switch with Rooney

Rooney

England’s Raheem Sterling insists he is happy to switch positions to accommodate Wayne Rooney if it helps keep their World Cup ambitions alive.

The Liverpool winger was a big success playing behind Daniel Sturridge in the 2-1 defeat by Italy – but manager Roy Hodgson is now set to move striker Rooney, 28, back to a central role.

Sterling, 19, said: “I would be happy to play anywhere the manager puts me.

“I will be working for the team regardless of the position I play in.”

Sterling’s fearless attitude epitomised a fine England attacking display against Italy, despite defeat, and he said he would adopt the same approach against Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

It is a game Hodgson’s side cannot afford to lose if they are to maintain their World Cup campaign beyond the group stage.

“It was a big occasion, my first competitive start,” said Sterling, who plays both wide and off the striker for Liverpool.

“I tried to think of it as just another game and give it my best shot. It wasn’t enough but the team did some really impressive stuff and we will go out on Thursday ready to go again.

“I tried to work hard for the team and help not just in the attacking bits but in defence as well. It was a difficult one because they had about three players around me every time.”

He added: “The people here just try to take the pressure off you so you can express yourself, which is the most important thing as a young player. They want you to show what you can do on the ball. I’m just learning and trying to be fearless in my approach to games.”

Former England defender and BBC Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand said Sterling, who has five caps, had been “amazing to see” against Italy in Manaus. “He was the star man for us, the go-to guy,” Ferdinand said.

“Sterling was so direct and so positive every time we got the ball and he was a defender’s nightmare. He is quick, skilful and wants to attack you.”

Sterling looks likely on Thursday to face Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez, who is in line to be brought in after knee surgery in a bid to repair the damage caused by Uruguay’s opening game 3-1 defeat against Costa Rica.

England, however, are focusing on Uruguay as a team, not just Suarez, and Sterling added: “We have been looking at them but we don’t want to give too much away.

“We are trying to find ways in which we can really hurt them and I think the manager has been preparing really well for this game.”