The Three Lions defeated Estonia 1-0 in Tallinn to make it three wins in a row in Euro2016 qualifying but Liverpool winger Sterling started the game on the bench after speaking with Hodgson following Thursday night's victory over San Marino.
The 19-year old played the first half of the 5-0 triumph at Wembley three days ago before coming on in the 64th minute to replace Reds teammate Jordan Henderson on Sunday with Hodgson explaining the reasons for his lack of action.
"We were just about to have a light session at the Grove and he said, 'I feel tired and I don't think I am in my best form at the moment'," Hodgson said.
"I admire his honesty for telling me. It was two days after the San Marino game when we did a lot of running then because we had a lot of the ball.
"I had two players - one was telling me he is tired, a little bit jaded. And the other (Adam Lallana) is full of beans so we put the one on that is full of beans and left the other as sub."
Hodgson also delivered a theory of his own regarding Sterling's physical and mental condition after a long summer away with England at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"He broke into the Liverpool team, had a fantastic season and then went to the World Cup. He is only a 19-year-old," the Three Lions boss added.
"It is not as simple as the training you are having may be taking a bit of juice from your legs.
"There is an awful lot going on in your head as well, so perhaps it is quite simply that the season has not started as well for Liverpool, he is in the spotlight for England and Liverpool. Maybe that has had some effect. I don't know. It's a theory."
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