Hodgson gave Sterling his first start for Liverpool in a pre-season friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach in August 2010.
Sterling, aged 15 at the time, came on for the final few minutes.
"He's definitely matured as player and person," said Hodgson, who also gave Sterling his full England debut against Sweden seven years ago.
"He's taken a lot of responsibility lately to stand up and become a spokesman for the discrimination we're experiencing.
"He's got a very good coach who's helping him, Man City and England are seeing the benefits of him, I can only take my hat off to him to the progress that he's made and it's down to him and his hard work.
"I hope I can say these nice things and he'll be nice and quiet and won't torment us."