Can Sterling show he’s a world class talent?


Raheem Sterling has often frustrated Manchester City supporters more than he has excited them. The 23-year-old winger has had a mercurial career that has seen him star for Pep Guardiola. Yet, Sterling has also shown he can fade and go missing for large chunks of football matches. Now,, supporters and others are asking: Can Sterling show he’s a world class talent?

From Liverpool to Man City

Sterling burst onto the football scene as a teenager at Liverpool. Yet, as good as he was for the Reds, Sterling has been even better since joining Manchester City for £49 million in 2015. Sterling replicated his goal scoring form at the Etihad Stadium as he scored 21 goals in his first two seasons at Manchester City. It was the exact same number of goals he had scored at Liverpool in the two seasons prior to leaving. Yet, supporters and pundits wanted more from Sterling despite the stats backing up his play.

Last season, Sterling put in his best goals performance for the Blues. He scored a career-high 23 goals in all competitions with 18 of those strikes coming in the Premier League. He added 11 assists to help the Blues win the Premier League.

Despite his performances, Sterling was never praised like his Manchester City teammates. Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva were the objects of the media’s attention despite Sterling scoring far more goals.

Manchester City may not have even won the Premier League without Sterling. The forward tallied several match winning goals at the beginning of season to save the club’s blushes. Perhaps Sterling is already world class.

England, Sterling and the World Cup

Sterling has the potential to be England’s most important creative player at the World Cup. His pace on the flank allows him to get beyond defenders. Sterling’s finishing has improved under Guardiola and he could pop up with an important goal as well.

Despite his progression as a player, Sterling still has a major weakness. That weakness is his final ball. He tallied 11 assists during the last Premier League season, but Sterling could have had more. It is the one part of his game that is a letdown and the area that frustrates fans to no end. It often influences onlookers to overlook Sterling’s excellent play and to focus on the negatives.

It has been difficult for Sterling to parlay his club form onto the international stage. He has only scored twice in 28 England appearances. Sterling is being called the player England fans love to hate ahead of the team’s first match against Tunisia.

In England’s World Cup warm-up fixture against Nigeria, Sterling had several opportunities with the ball at his feet. Around the 18-yard box, he struggled to find teammates and sent his own shots over the crossbar.

Sterling’s Manchester City teammate Kevin De Bruyne, who will play for Belgium against England in the group stage, believes the winger will play well at the tournament. De Bruyne has a lot of belief in Sterling, which is more than England’s own supporters. Sterling has shown he is a top football player, but it may take a big World Cup performance to be seen as a world class talent. Even then, cynical English football supporters may not take to him.

Share this article

Because We Love Football