Raheem Sterling can become a Premier League great

Raheem Sterling

Putting pen-to-paper on a new bumper contract reportedly worth up to £300,000 per week, it’s hard to imagine that Raheem Sterling is just 23. Joining Manchester City from Liverpool back in 2015 for an initial £44 million, the England international has showcased that he has what it takes to potentially become a future Ballon d’Or winner. Now, there are probably people out there suggesting that he’s a long way off, but Sterling has shown time and again that’s he’s one of City’s most influential players under Pep Guardiola.

Raheem Sterling has faced some relentless criticism by the British media over the past year which is certainly unjustified. England reached their first World Cup Quarter-Final since Italia ’90 and the abuse that the Englishman received from some fans was certainly uncalled for. In many pieces after the Sweden game, several outlets rated Sterling as England’s worst player and while he didn’t have the best of games, some of the criticism was uncalled for.

However, for the abuse that Raheem Sterling received when in the England setup, the 23-year-old has finally found a home in Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s man-management of the youngster must be commended and it’s clear to see why the Spaniard has such faith in the forward. Since returning from Russia, Sterling has managed six goals and five assists in nine Premier League games for Manchester City and while Guardiola seems unsure on his best attacking XI, Sterling is Guardiola’s first name on the team sheet alongside Sergio Aguero.

Whether it’s either side of Sergio Aguero on the flank or playing a supporting role to the Argentine, Raheem Sterling has been able to adapt his game under Pep Guardiola which makes him a constant threat from opposing defenders. There’s still key issues raised that perhaps Sterling should be scoring more goals from midfield, but with 18 Premier League goals last season and six already this campaign, perhaps he has shown he has an eye for goal.

There was a bitterness from Liverpool fans following the departure of Raheem Sterling back in 2015 but former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher couldn’t have said it better in his column for The Telegraph.

“Sitting in a pub in London last summer, watching England’s World Cup game against Colombia, the negativity towards him was shocking. When he was subbed there were fans booing his performance.

“How could the reaction to such a promising young player reach that point? I was one of those who felt he was not at his best in Russia and could have been left out, but the anger directed at him was extreme.”

Since his move to Manchester City and progression under Pep Guardiola, Raheem Sterling has now cemented himself as one of City and the Premier League’s best players – there’s no doubt about it.

There has been a massive improvement in productivity under Guardiola, but what is most exciting is the potential for more. Pep will not stop demanding. Despite his improving goal record, he can score more,” added Carragher.

“In Kevin De Bruyne’s absence, Raheem’s form is a reason for that. That’s why we are reading about a £300,000-a-week contract, which sounds astronomical but in this day and age reflects his market value. Statistically, his end product since the start of the 2017-18 campaign is above Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and David Silva – no-one would bat an eyelid if they were rewarded with this kind of deal, so why should it be different for Raheem?”

Sunday’s Manchester derby against Manchester United is a platform for Raheem Sterling to showcase that he is one of the best. He was a key player for Pep Guardiola in their 2017/18 title winning campaign for a reason while he was influential in securing key points for City last season.

Against Manchester United, Raheem Sterling could have a field day. He was criticised in the derby last season for missing several key chances while the Englishman will be eager to set the record straight. There’s no doubting that he’s worth his new £300,000 per week wage in today’s astronomical market and at just 23, Sterling is still in his early stages of his career despite him being around for what seems like a lifetime.

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