Callum Hudson-Odoi: Raheem Sterling is still my idol
Raheem Sterling may have been dropped for England's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley tomorrow morning (Singapore time), after a clash with teammate Joe Gomez but, for winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, he remains a leader for the Three Lions.
England boss Gareth Southgate axed Sterling for the game at Wembley after an incident in the canteen at their training facility on Monday.
The pair had squared off in last Sunday's English Premier League match at Anfield, where Sterling's Manchester City were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool, with Gomez coming on as a late substitute in the titanic clash.
Southgate and several players have sought to put the incident behind them. Sterling remains with the squad and could feature in Monday morning's qualifier away to Kosovo.
Yet the man who could replace him in attack, Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi, does not doubt Sterling's importance to him and the rest of the squad.
"Someone like Raheem is like an idol to me. The position he plays, and what he's doing for club and country, is an amazing thing, which I will try to replicate myself.
"It is an amazing feeling to have someone like him doing what he's doing and being around you every time. I want to keep learning off what he does. He is a nice person to be around, very positive," he said.
Hudson-Odoi, 19, broke into the Chelsea first team last season and quickly earned an England debut against the Czech Republic at Wembley in March - coming on as a substitute for Sterling after the City forward had scored a hat-trick.
Yet Sterling had already made an impression on Hudson-Odoi with the way he welcomed him into the England camp.
The impact is so strong that the Chelsea winger looks up to Sterling as a leader.
"Definitely. He's very positive about what he does. Whenever he says something, he wants to take a stance and make sure everything is OK with it," Hudson-Odoi said.
"For someone like him, he's a big leader in the team because he's a very top player, he's in club and country... working really hard, scoring a lot of goals."
England, who top the group, will qualify for Euro 2020 with a draw against Montenegro. - REUTERS