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'He has been a brilliant spokesperson': Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson hails Raheem Sterling for his maturity on and off the pitch ahead of Premier League clash with Manchester City Roy Hodgson says he is glad to see Raheem Sterling flourishing as a footballer The 72-year-old handed the Manchester City man his full England debut in 2012 The forward has scored 13 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season Hodgson admires Sterling for 'shouldering a heavy burden' as a black player

By George Sessions, Pa

Published: 16:52 BST, 18 October 2019 | Updated: 16:54 BST, 18 October 2019

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Roy Hodgson always believed in Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and joked he hopes it means he will go easy on Crystal Palace this weekend.

The Eagles host the Premier League champions at Selhurst Park on Saturday in a 5.30pm kick-off with Pep Guardiola's side in need of a reaction after losing at home to Wolves last time out.

Liverpool are already eight points clear of City and in-form Sterling will be eager to follow up his brace for England in Bulgaria when he comes up against his old international manager.

Roy Hodgson hopes Raheem Sterling will go easy on Crystal Palace this weekend

Roy Hodgson hopes Raheem Sterling will go easy on Crystal Palace this weekend

Hodgson handed the winger his international debut at the age of 17 and stuck by Sterling during some tricky times with the Three Lions.

This is all in the past now with Sterling boasting a record of 13 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions for club and country this season and a key figure for City and England.

'He was always a fantastic midfielder, a very hard worker, made good runs most of the time. I remember in Switzerland, he played in behind the front players, like he was for Liverpool, and he was quite outstanding,' Hodgson said.

Former England boss Hodgson handed the forward his full international debut when he was 17

Former England boss Hodgson handed the forward his full international debut when he was 17

'The criticism levelled at him was much to my displeasure and the attention he was getting elsewhere from social media and sometimes the media itself was draining

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