Though Jamaica’s national football team, the Reggae Boyz will be missing their fifth consecutive World Cup this summer, one of their best prodigies, Raheem Sterling will be representing his adopted country, England in the summer showpiece after he was named in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the tournament in Brazil.
The 19-year-old Kingston native dazzled in the recently-concluded English Premier League season in which he racked up nine goals and five assists in 33 games, showcasing blitzing speed, bursting runs and strong finishing ability as he helped Liverpool challenge for the league title until the final weekend. Sterling will be contending to start on the wing during the World Cup.
Sterling is the first Jamaican-born player since Liverpool legend, John Barnes to be named to an English World Cup squad. Barnes, who played 11 seasons at Anfield, represented England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico before joining them on the plane to the 1990 edition in Italy.
Media in Jamaica hyped up Sterling ever since his early teenage days when he wowed for QPR’s youth team and locals hoped he would eventually play for his home country. However, Sterling went on two represent England at under-16, under-17 and under-21 level before he eventually debuted for the senior team in November 2012 during a friendly international against in Sweden. He later committed to play for the English national team instead of Jamaica. He has never played in a competitive match for England.
Other notables selected by England manager, Roy Hodgson for Brazil 2014 include Sterling’s teammates, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Glen Johnson as well as Chelsea midfield maestro, Frank Lampard, Everton youngster, Ross Barkley, Arsenal stars, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney, who will be heading to his third straight finals.