What does the future hold for Raheem Sterling at Manchester City?
Raheem Sterling won the player of the month for August, and deservedly so! He has been in tremendous form for the duration of August and has taken that into September, being crucial to the perfect start that Manchester City have made in the Premier League so far. Brought in to Liverpool from the QPR Academy by Rafa Benitez at the age of 16, he has come a long way from being a part of the Reds’ unsuccessful title challenge in 2013-14 under Brendan Rodgers, to becoming one of the first names on the team sheet at the Etihad.
Sterling is one of the rare exciting English talents, who has the ability to make everyone sit up and take notice, with enough potential to become one of the best in the world. Blessed with express pace and good ball control, he can dribble and take on the opposition players with ease.
His controversial £49 million move to Manchester City in the summer of 2015 sparked a lot of outrage from Liverpool fans. However, Manuel Pellegrini couldn’t bring out the best from him last season, and the boos quickly turned into mockery. A poor showing in the Euros with the national team eventually rounded off a miserable 2015-16 season for the young speedster.
The arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City seems to have brought about a swift change in fortunes for Sterling. Even before the new boss formally joined up with the squad, he was in constant contact with the winger; Pep has been an admirer for a long time and told him he was an important part of his plans. The Spaniard, who likes to micromanage and work at a personal level with his players, seems to have found a way to get the best out of English forward, who has noticeably benefited from this style of coaching.
Having scored two goals and set up two more, out of the 11 that the Sky Blues have scored in the league this season, he certainly looks to have found his shooting boots. Apart from the goals, he has simply been a menace to the opposition defence with his speed and trickery, looking more like the player that City paid big money for. Deployed predominantly on the wing, he has been given the freedom to come infield by his manager and has thus been able to influence the game better.
Sterling admitted that Guardiola has shown great confidence in him, which seems to have made him mentally tougher. The youngster is clearly calmer and more composed on the ball, with the effect that his finishing has significantly improved.
At just 21 years of age, the sky is the limit for Raheem Sterling! With the wealth of attacking talent that Manchester City have in their squad, he will have to consistently prove himself with strong performances. He needs to keep working hard on his game to be challenging for a place in the starting eleven. Furthermore, at the national level, he can be just the kind of star player that this current England setup needs. Flexible on either wing or through the middle, he can inject some much needed urgency and excitement into the team’s performances and be a very influential player for years to come.
As a player who thrives on positive motivation and confidence, if Sterling keeps winning games, and eventually titles with the Manchester club, he could be unstoppable. Although this may be too early to predict, but if Pep’s history with a certain young forward at Barcelona is anything to go by, the Spanish coach could possibly forge a similar relationship with Sterling. With proper guidance, hard work and a hunger to give his best, he certainly has the potential to be world class within the next few years!
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