Raheem Sterling is in contention to be handed a starting berth for England in their World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

The Liverpool winger sat out the Three Lions' last warm-up game with Honduras at the weekend due to suspension and has, therefore, only played 39 minutes of football in the last month.

However, Hodgson insists Sterling very much in his planning for the Group D clash with the Azzurri in Manaus.

"Any time you choose to select or not select a player, you can come up with reasons," said the England boss.

"If you're asking me will I hide behind that, to not consider him, then no I won't because he's as fit as a flea and I'm pretty certain he hasn't forgotten how to play matches, either.

"It was unfortunate that he couldn't play against Honduras but I can tell you that Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I'm considering.

"If I select him, it won't be in my opinion a risk that he hasn't played so many minutes. And if I don't select him, it certainly won't be because he has only played 39 minutes. It will be because I prefer someone else. That's all I can tell you."