Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling
Rooney expects Sterling to shape England's future in the coming years.Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths

England captain Wayne Rooney has lavished praise on Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling by drawing comparisons between him and ex-Arsenal and Netherlands winger Marc Overmars.

Sterling's emergence during the last 12 months - which saw him become a regular starter for Liverpool, earn nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and appear at the World Cup - has led to many tipping the 19-year-old for a glittering career.

Rooney is among Sterling's biggest supporters and the Manchester United skipper bestowed the ultimate accolade upon the Liverpool wideman by comparing him to one of Europe's finest wingers of the last 20 years.

"He's quite an unusual player, someone who can play right across the front line and out wide," said Rooney.

"Although he's a small lad he's really strong as well. I sat down with him before the World Cup and showed him videos of Marc Overmars. He reminds me of him.

"He's a young lad, but the potential he has shown is incredible. In fact, he has the potential to be as good as Overmars.

"A fantastic player – you saw that last season and again, already, at the start of this one. He'll be a massive player for us for the next 10-15 years and, unfortunately, also for Liverpool."

During spells at Ajax, Arsenal and Barcelona during the fulcrum of his professional career, Overmars was among the most feared wingers in Europe.

After winning three successive league titles and the Champions League with Ajax under Louis van Gaal, Overmars moved to the Premier League for just £5m where he inspired Arsenal to the domestic double.

Just three years later he joined Barcelona from Arsenal alongside Emmanuel Petit, but endured an spell often overshadowed by injury.

Meanwhile, big things are being expected of Sterling, who as well as being tipped for a central role in England's future will be among Liverpool's key men as they attempt to fill the void left by Luis Suarez.