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Gareth Southgate: 'Raheem Sterling should stay with senior side'

England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate believes that both his side and Raheem Sterling would benefit from the Liverpool man staying with the senior team.

England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate has expressed his belief that Raheem Sterling would benefit more from sticking with the senior side than re-joining the youth set-up.

Former England U21s boss Stuart Pearce suggested that the likes of Sterling should be made available to Southgate heading into the crucial Euro 2015 playoff with Croatia Under-21s.

However, Southgate believes that the 19-year-old has bigger priorities than the U21s now, and hopes that both parties will benefit from the Liverpool man staying with Roy Hodgson's squad.

"Whilst as a coach you always want the best possible players available, sometimes I don't think it is the right or appropriate challenge for the individual player. Raheem is one who I don't say is finished at this level but, clearly, having played in the World Cup, he's now made himself pretty much a first choice for the senior team," Southgate told reporters.

"What would we get back in terms of his feelings and his mood? He is a great professional, I have to say, so I am sure he would react to it in the right way because he did when he came back with us last year. His training was fantastic. But are you going to get exactly the same performance? He has got England seniors, he has got Liverpool with the league, he has got Liverpool with the Champions League.

"On the list of priorities, the 21s wouldn't necessarily be so high. For the group, you think you're bringing back the best players but it wouldn't necessarily guarantee you get a better performance whereas the boys with us this week, for them this is everything. So we win both ways, really. We give Raheem the experience of continuing with the seniors and we also get the experience for the group that remains with us."

England are looking to qualify for the 2015 U21 European Championship having lost every game in last year's tournament.

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Manager Stuart Pearce of England during UEFA European U21 Championships on June 11, 2013
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