Gerrard backs Sterling for WC

England captain Steven Gerrard has backed Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling to win a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.

The tricky winger has been in sensational form of late after making his return to the Liverpool first-team fold, with his two goals against a hapless Arsenal testament to his recent improvement.

And with several spots in Hodgson's final 23-man squad still yet to be decided upon, the 19-year-old has the support of his club skipper to be on the plane to Brazil.

"Raheem has been in great form over the last couple of months and I'm sure Roy Hodgson is watching him very closely," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.

"The Arsenal game was an unbelievable performance from a guy of that age. I was just disappointed that he didn't go on and get his hat-trick.

"His form of late has been sensational and if he continues that until the end of the season, we will see him at the World Cup."

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was especially complimentary of Sterling's physical attributes despite his slight stature, describing him as a "man of steel".

And Gerrard further reinforced his manager's belief that he has the strength to cope against even the most difficult of opponents.

"He is the toughest in our squad," Gerrard added.

"I don't go near him in training because if I do, there is only one winner.

"He just needs to keep learning and listening to Brendan and the experienced players in the dressing room and believing in himself. If he does that, he'll be all right."