Henderson defends 'first-class' Sterling

Raheem Sterling is unaffected by speculation about his future, according to Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson.

Jordan Henderson has spoken out in defence of Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling as doubts continue to surround the winger's Anfield future.

Contract talks between Sterling and Liverpool have broken down quite publicly, with the 20-year-old's agent claiming he would not sign a deal worth "£900,000 a week".

Arsenal and Manchester City are thought to be among a number of clubs keeping an eye on the situation, but Henderson insists Sterling remains unaffected.

"Raheem is a great person, he's a great lad," said Henderson during a news conference on England duty. "He's come into a lot of criticism of late because of the contract situation but as a person he's first class. All the lads love him, whether that's here or at Liverpool.

"He's a great professional, his work ethic is fantastic and never really lets that bother him.

"He's always working as hard as he can, he wants to improve all the time.

"I don't think it's affected him. He's left that to whoever is representing him and whatever he wants to do but, for me, Raheem Sterling is a fantastic player, he'll be brilliant for England and I hope he'll stay at Liverpool."

Henderson and Sterling are in the England squad for the forthcoming matches against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.