At Euro 2016, England winger Raheem Sterling came in for heavy criticism and many Three Lions fans slated boss Roy Hodgson for picking the youngster. Fast forward a couple of years and the winger is a completely different player.
A year and a bit working with uber-coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has reignited the winger’s confidence. The undoubtedly talented star is now producing the best form of his career in a formidable City side.
Top scorer in a top team
Raheem Sterling does not look out of place alongside the likes of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus at City. The 23-year-old is now an integral part of a Manchester City team that is on a record-breaking 16 game winning run following their 4-1 win over Tottenham on Saturday.
A brace against Spurs sent City 14 points clear at the top the Premier League perfectly illustrated his current confidence and form.
Not only is he an integral part of the team, he is the Citizens top scorer in the Premier League, with 11 goals this season, despite only starting 13 of City’s top-flight games this season. Guardiola has at times rotated his attacking options. However, Sterling has now started the last eight Premier League games.
The winger’s odds of winning the Golden Boot this season have now shortened to odds of 22/1. It seems unlikely that the winger will win the award. However, just being in contention at this stage of the season is a massive improvement for Sterling.
Sterling is no doubt in the form of his life at the minute. At 23-years-old, the winger is still a relatively young player. He will only get better with more experience at club and international level.
There is now a buzz of excitement every time the young winger picks up the ball. His pace and energy are a constant threat to any defence he comes up against.
For an English player to be part of such an incredible team as Manchester City, it can only be good for the national side.
Should be a crucial player for England
Raheem Sterling’s career transformation from the figure of fun to top talent has been incredible. The winger has learnt a lot under Guardiola that he can take with him into the international game with England.
Sterling should be a crucial part of the Three Lions squad for next year’s World Cup in Russia. If he keeps playing as he has been, then the winger will be a major weapon for Gareth Southgate’s team.
The old adage about defenders being scared of pace is true. Sterling not only has pace but Guardiola has helped him make better decisions on the ball, which is vital for any young player.
The Catalan boss has maybe helped Sterling develop as a person in the last year too. The winger seems slightly more mature and his personal life seems to be less out in the open than it once was.
Nice to see a turnaround
Raheem Sterling has made mistakes in the past. It is unsurprising considering that he is a very young man with a lot of money. Youngsters make mistakes, it is just that any mistakes he makes are high publicised.
For all the bad stuff written about Sterling, it is nice that the winger has now turned his career around after a tough 18 months or so. It is good that people are now talking about his performances on the pitch, rather than off the field mistakes.
He moved to City to win the big silverware and with City looking so strong he looks set to do that this season. When Manchester City are crowned Premier League champions in May, the winger will know that he has played a massive part in helping his team win the title.
Raheem Sterling has let his football do the talking this season. His form has been electric and I hope it continues into the summer for England’s sake. Thankfully, Sterling is no longer the Three Lions scapegoat. Who knows he may just be the hero this time around for England.
Can Raheem Sterling continue his electric form for the rest of the season?
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