Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling showed composure beyond his years in opening the scoring in the Reds vital 3-2 win over title rivals Manchester City last weekend.
The 19-year-old has played a big role in the Reds very promising Premier League title challenge, after struggling to start games earlier in the campaign.
Last season Raheem Sterling was in and out of the Liverpool team, as he struggled to find the consistency necessary to be a regular starter for the Reds.
Sterling even struggled to hold down a regular first team place in the first half of this season.
However in the second half of the season, Sterling had all of a sudden managed to find a degree of consistency that he previously lacked in his game. The winger, turned number ten has enjoyed a big turnaround this season.
Some of Sterling’s best performances of the season have come against the Reds top-six rivals. Sterling has produced influential displays against the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City.
That fact shows that he can compete against the top teams and not just the poorer teams in the top-flight. Sterling is no flat-track bully.
Until recent games Sterling was considered as just a winger. However, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers decided to use Sterling in the number ten role in recent games and he has impressed in the role. The youngster has shown the sort of intelligence in that role that was not so visible when he was playing as a winger.
His pace, dribbling skills and positional sense have been displayed perfectly in the role behind the striker. It seems that his attributes are ideally suited to the role and his future could lie in the centre, rather than on the wing.
England boss Roy Hodgson is not a man to go for the exciting, flair players. He is more at home with the players that work hard. However, the Three Lions boss has promised that his team will take risks at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Does that mean he will unleash the likes of Sterling from the start in Brazil? On current form the youngster is a must have in the England starting line-up. He is not scared to run at opponents and his football intelligence seems to have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few months.
As an England fan I would have no qualms about Hodgson starting Sterling at the World Cup, because he has shown at Liverpool he can now produce big performances when needed. If England goes into the World Cup with caution they will be catching an early flight home.
If England goes with the promising talents like Sterling then the Three Lions may just have a chance of progressing to the latter stages.
Sterling has come a long way from last season, both as a player and as a person. The youngster had a reputation as a bad boy last season. It seems he has now settled down slightly and hopefully he has also matured.
No doubt Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has had a hand in helping to settle the youngster down. Some of his previous behaviour may have been caused by frustration of not being in the Reds team, he can no longer use that as an excuse.
It seems that Raheem Sterling may just have grasped the idea that he has the chance to make it to the very top of the game, if he behaves in the right manner. The 19-year-old still has a lot to learn, but in the last six months he has shown that he has the attributes to develop into an even better player in the future.
Sterling may have to keep his feet on the ground though, as he may well soon be a part of the first Liverpool team in 24 years to win a league title. If the Reds do clinch the league title in May then he will go to the World Cup with a winning mentality, as will a host of his teammates.
England are going to need every advantage they can get at the World Cup with such a tough group. Raheem Sterling has gone from bit-part player to big player at Anfield and hopefully he can do the same with England in the summer.
The youngster has seized his chance for the Reds this season. If he does the same with England then it can only be good for the future of the England national team.
Should Raheem Sterling start for England at the World Cup?