Since controversially leaving Liverpool for Man City in a fee worth £50m in 2015, Raheem Sterling has now elevated his game to the next level, becoming a big part in the success of Pep Guardiola’s new look City.
Following a lengthy contract dispute with Liverpool, Sterling opted to leave Anfield for the high-flying Manchester City in what was at the time a record fee for an English player.
In his debut for the Citizens, it took Sterling just three minutes to score against AS Roma in a friendly.
His first competitive goal came against Watford in a 2-0 win for City in August as he hit the ground running straight away following his move.
At the time he was helping the team with goals and assists but it seemed that Liverpool were better off with the £50m than Sterling, as the Golden Boy winner from 2014 failed to set the Eithad on fire like his potential suggested he would.
After a drop in form and facing 8 weeks out injured, Sterling’s debut season didn’t go to plan. Although 11 goals and 10 assists is something many teams would love from their players, the now 23-year-old was deemed to be one of the worst signings of the season.
The Pep influence
When Pep Guardiola moved from Bayern Munich to Man City, the rest of the league feared the powerful manager as the Spaniard had been extremely successful in the last few years, as well as assisting the growth of many players.
The winger was firmly tucked under the wing of Guardiola and the rebirth of Raheem Sterling was set to begin. Pep Guardiola’s first month in the Premier League couldn’t have gone much better, winning all three of his games.
Sterling was a big part of the victories as the winger bagged 2 goals and 1 assists in the opening matches of the season. These fine performances earned him the Premier League Player of the month award.
For the rest of the season, Sterling looked a man full of confidence, assisting his team mates left, right and centre. Whatever role or position Sterling was given, his rapid pace and nimble feet often allowed him to beat opposition players to create chances for himself but mainly his team mates.
In total in the 2016/17 season, Sterling got 10 goals and 21 assists, a very good return for a player who was now looking his £50m worth.
2017/18 – Meteoric rise
Manchester City have simply been incredible this season and one of the biggest players a part of that is Raheem Sterling. Up until their weekend 4-3 loss to Liverpool, they hadn’t lost a game. Even though they have now lost a game, it won’t stop Pep and his players surging on towards the Premier League trophy.
The way that Guardiola has adapted City to his style has seen massive improvements in all of their players. They play furnominal football and they average almost three goals per game.
In the first game of the new campaign, Sterling scored a 97th minute winner at Bournemouth as well as getting sent-off moments later for celebrating with the fans, earning a second yellow card. His first-game-form continued and the attack of Sterling, Sane, Aguero and Jesus was too much for every single team as the Citizens went marching on.
So far this season, Sterling has smashed last season’s goal figures, recording 18 goals in 30 games. His success in-front of goal seems to largely be down to Pep Guardiola, who has been seen working with Sterling individually.
By doing this, the Spaniard has got the very best out of Sterling and he is no longer a threat but a player that teams have to contain to have any chance of getting a result.
Whats changed with Sterling?
Attitude: It seems as though the maturing Englishman now realises how important he is for City but also how easily he could be replaced. One of his biggest downfalls at Liverpool was his attitude, thinking he was better than he was and consequently demanded more money because of it.
Bigger goal-threat: Not only does he set up his team-mates but at the moment you can’t keep Raheem Sterling of the scoresheet. When Pep Guardiola was asked about his goal improvements, he replied: “He’s not scared, he’s not afraid to take a risk” and “I think he’s enjoying scoring goals.” The movement of Sterling has really improved, causing more problems for defenders and creating more chances for himself to score. A trademark Sterling goal utilises all of his best attributes. When the 23-year-old has possession of the ball, he looks for a team-mate, feeds them the ball while he scampers away creating more space to exploit. With visionaries such as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, the ball will likely return to Sterling so he can apply the finish.
How can he be a world-beater?
Like all good players, Raheem Sterling needs consistency. He has had an amazing season so far but Sterling needs to continue this form for the rest of the season to be considered as one of the best wingers in the world.
Many top players have struggled to perform for their country and Sterling will have a great opportunity for England at the World Cup this year on the biggest stage of them all.
He has all the attributes to become a top, top player. Players fear his extreme pace and now that he has adding goals to his game, the 23-year-old is a constant threat.
His low centre of gravity is much desired as he can drift past players with ease. With Man City hoping to bounce back from their first defeat of the season in the league, Sterling has to step up once more and prove how good he really can be.