Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has calmed fears over the toe problem which forced his England withdrawalGetty Images

Former Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins has backed Liverpool star Raheem Sterling's decision to delay contract talks.

The Reds manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed the winger will discuss a new deal only after the end of this season. This has alerted Liverpool's domestic rivals Arsenal and the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is hoping to lure him to join the north London club this summer.

Sterling is playing as a wing-back in the former Swansea manager's new system at Anfield. Wilkins has suggested Rodgers' formation does not suit him, but admitted that Liverpool is the perfect place for the England international.

"Raheem Sterling is not breaking any contract and it's his right to wait until the end of the season," Wilkins told talkSPORT.

"He should keep his options open, there's no two ways about it. His talent is Champions League level and I know he's playing wing-back at the moment for Liverpool and that doesn't suit him at all."

"In this period of Raheem's education, as far as football is concerned, Liverpool is the perfect place for him to be.

"Brendan is a fantastic manager. He loves young guys and he gives them a game. That's the important thing. If you move to one of these big teams like Real Madrid or Barcelona, do you play?" he added.

Sterling is earning £35,000-a-week and Liverpool are ready to offer him around £90,000-a-week. However, Wilkins believes the longevity of the new deal is the main reason why the player has not signed a contract extension at Anfield.

"[The delay] can't be for finance, he's only a young man. They've offered him a very good contract and he should stay," the former Chelsea assistant manager said.

"Perhaps the longevity of the contract might be the stumbling block. They might want to keep him for six or seven years and he might only want a couple of years and see where he goes from there," Wilkins concluded.