The last Premier League season saw the much-anticipated emergence of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City into the bully boys of the division, following an inaugural season in which the manager somewhat flattered to deceive.
One critical element of the season’s success was the emergence of Raheem Sterling as a potent threat in front of goal, an upturn that saw him land the accolade of the second highest point scoring midfielder within England – his haul of 117 points being bested only be Liverpool’s Mo Salah.
The Englishman has been a revelation under the guidance of Guardiola over the 2017/18 season, the tactical knowledge of the Spaniard seeing Sterling’s undoubted talent finally translate into a significant tally of goals – his timed runs into threatening positions often being rewarded by the elite passing abilities of the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.
Sterling bagged himself 18 goals across the 33 games he featured in across the campaign, double the previous best that he had set at Liverpool back in 2013/14. Add to that a total of 11 assists and the player’s growth over the season becomes increasingly apparent.
Having unceremoniously dumped Liverpool in the pursuit of fulfilling his desire to win major trophies, the 23-year-old secured both the League Cup and a maiden Premier League title this campaign – his first club honours as a professional footballer.
With Manchester City having become the first team to hit the 100 points mark in a Premier League campaign, as well as breaking the record for the number of goals scored, there is a genuine belief among some quarters that the club could be on the brink of a period of domination not seen since Ferguson’s Manchester United across the nineties and early noughties.
If Raheem can continue his exceptional form, he could well prove to be one of the driving forces behind this success.
As he looks ahead to the World Cup in Russia, Sterling will be all too aware of the media storm and extensive criticism that has surrounded him and his body art decisions since the start of the off-season.
Should he be able to take the resolve and positive attitude that has seen him weather past doubts over his ability and develop into one of the league’s most prolific talent – it is most probable that he will also overcome this recent spate of criticism and bring his exception form onto the world stage, too.
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