The CEO of the QPR Community Trust has praised the way Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is handling the career of young England winger Raheem Sterling.
Andy Evans has been with the trust for almost 20 years and has overseen a number of young players who have gone on to turn professional including Liverpool speed-merchant, Sterling.
Sterling made his first-team debut for Liverpool in 2012 and made his England debut later that year after a series of impressive displays for the Reds.
Rodgers used the 18-year-old sparingly in 2013 amidst fears of possible burnout and Evans believes the Liverpool manager has dealt with the situation the right way.
"I think he’s probably managed him quite well,” said Evans. "He will be seeing and working with him every day throughout the year and it’s a big jump going from a youth player to becoming a first team player in the Premier League at a big club.
"I’m sure Brendan and his staff will be managing his workload accordingly and that is probably why they took him out towards the end because it is difficult for a young player like that to maintain his level over the course of a whole season."
Evans believes changes to modern day football mean managers now have to be more careful than ever in nurturing young talent.
"It’s not just about skill level and fitness it’s also about how young players handle the media glare and everything that goes with the challenge of playing at the top level,” he explained. "It’s about how they handle their life off the field as well, not just what they do out there on the park during 90 minutes but how are they coping with all the other pressures that go with that.
"It falls on the staff at those clubs who are close to them and working with them to manage that side of their development as well."
Sterling was snapped up by Liverpool in 2010 as a 14-year-old by former Reds manager Rafael Benitez and Evans conceded QPR were powerless to stop the move.
"He came into the academy here at QPR and at the time the club was quite challenged financially, as it was a few years before the big takeover,” he said. "Liverpool came in for him with an offer the club couldn’t really turn down and obviously it was a great opportunity for Raheem and his family as well.
"It was a shame we couldn’t hold onto him and see him wear the blue and white hoops because it would have been great to see a real local kid go from the academy to the first team.”