Raheem Sterling backed by Brendan Rodgers to impress again this season
Raheem Sterling has been backed to go one better this season, after an impressive debut campaign for club and country last time around.
The England and Liverpool winger burst onto the scene at Anfield last summer, with his early season performances for Liverpool earning him a call-up from Roy Hodgson.
And Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes the 18-year-old can build on that this term after returning to pre-season in good shape.
Rodgers said: "He's come back refreshed. He did work over the course of pre-season and was back and forward from his holidays into Melwood, preparing himself well.
"He looks so fit, he looks sharp, he looks better than what he was last summer when I came in and I think he'll play a big part for us again this season.
"At 18 years of age, he has so much potential.
"If we nurture that well and he can retain his focus and mentality, he can be a big talent.”
Sterling had already been a regular for England at youth level, winning caps at U16, U17 and U19 level before hitting the Premier League spotlight.
Further caps at Under-21 and a senior debut against Sweden followed and the Three Lions were unfortunate to lose him for the Under-21 Euro Finals in the summer due to injury.
But Rodgers feels there will be much more to come this season from the former QPR youngster after his summer break.
He added: "I've been pleased with what I've seen from him so far.
"For the first six months (of last season) he was sensational.
"He ended up getting a full England cap, which shows you the impact he made at 17 years of age, and make over 30 (Liverpool) appearances.
"Towards the end of the season, there was a natural drop-off purely because of the youthfulness of him and also because of the pressure of playing for Liverpool and at the very top end of the game.
"I took him out of that, he had a little injury at the end of the season as well.
“But I wanted to protect him and make sure he doesn't have too many miles on the clock too early."
England Under-21s take on Scotland in Sheffield on Tuesday 13 August and tickets are on sale now. Click here for more details.