Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have started the season as everyone expected – winning every game, scoring goals, playing well, attacking at speed, creating new tactics and formations and dropping experienced players as they go.
Some players were always going to improve, and one that seems to be improving dramatically is young Raheem Sterling, after his poor Euro’s.
Is the Englishmen Guardiola’s best performing player at the moment, or is he just benefiting from playing alongside other star players who are performing to their potential in front of the new Etihad boss?
Sterling has started all of the Premier League games this season, scoring two goals and getting one assist in the three matches to date. He also has played a major role in every game, including winning the penalty against Sunderland in the very first minutes of the opening match of the campaign. His contribution to Pep’s team this season has been vital to their strong start, and has put them in a good place ahead of the Manchester derby.
This is in contrast to the European Championships, in which Sterling failed to make much of an impact and his position in the squad altogether was questioned. It was reported that former Liverpool flyer was told by Pep during the summer that he was very much in his plans, and this certainly seems to be the case. Maybe having a manager who believed in him completely was just what he needed.
Pep has a good history when it comes to nurturing wingers. At Barcelona, he had Pedro, and at Bayern Munich, he was able to boast a whole horde of wingers, including the brilliant Douglas Costa. It will be interesting to see if Sterling can become as big a player as the wingers just mentioned.
Sterling however, is helped by having players around him who are also playing to their potential. Sergio Aguero is in fine goal-scoring form, and the performances of John Stones, Fernandinho, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have also impressed. Despite these others coming the fore, the displays of Sterling, as well as his statistics, show that he is the main man for City right now.
With his confidence high, it will be interesting to know if he can replicate his form for England on Sunday night, or whether this is something reserved for Manchester City. Either way, it is no illusion at the moment that he is the main man right now, and will probably be the first name on the team sheet for the Manchester derby, after the international break.
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