Raheem Sterling
Sterling will be vital to England in Brazil, says Owen.GettyImages

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes Raheem Sterling should be one of the first names on Roy Hodgson's England team sheet having outshone Eden Hazard and David Silva this season.

The 19-year-old has gone from World Cup outsider to one deemed vital to England's success in Brazil this summer having enjoyed an exquisite campaign at Anfield.

Having shown his appetite in crucial Premier League fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester City, Owen believes the youngster has unequivocally forced his way into Hodgson's first team plans where his pace will add another dimension to the Three Lions attack.

"He's definitely going to get into the squad; it is a question of whether he's in the starting XI or not," Owen said, speaking to the club's official website.

"In a World Cup, in any game of football, you need players up front that have got pace. If you haven't got pace anywhere in your team, then you have to have some outstanding talent – passers of the ball, movement and guile."

"If you've just got raw pace, it opens up so many more avenues. He has developed into an outstanding player this season.

"He has time to find his feet, and now he's found them and he's one of the key players in the title push this year.

"I actually put him in my team of the year ahead of the likes of (Eden) Hazard and (David) Silva at Manchester City, and other players like that. That's how highly I rate him.

"Pace is so important; if you've got a football brain to go along with that pace, it is a lethal combination. He has consistently played well."

Sterling has been a lethal component in Liverpool's vibrant attack this season having found the back of the net 10 times this season, having laid on a further eight for his teammates.