Manchester City and England winger Raheem Sterling seems to be the anti-hero of English football for some certain braindead tabloids. He is constantly on the receiving end of ridiculous non-stories and harassment.
However, in real terms, the 24-year-old is at the peak of his footballing powers. This season could see the winger move to an even higher level. A hat-trick in City’s opening league game 5-0 defeat of West Ham may just be a sign of things to come from the England star.
His finishing has improved immensely
Sterling has now been around the game a long time. He has always been a starlet waiting to shine. Under City boss Pep Guardiola, the winger is truly shining.
One facet of his game that was previously poor was his finishing. Many used to say, ‘yeah he is a good player, but his finishing is poor’. Sterling has rendered that criticism mute by his improvement in that particular area of his game in recent seasons. Last season he scored 25 goals for City, as the Citizens retained the Premier League title and did the domestic treble.
Looking even sharper this season
The scary thing is that Sterling is looking even sharper in front of goal than last season. The manner in which he took his goals on the opening day, (even the VAR disallowed effort) shows just how sharp he is at the minute. A summer break will no doubt have recharged the batteries of the lively forward. Whenever City looked dangerous against the Hammers, Sterling seemed to be involved.
His City boss Guardiola has described him ‘as a special player’ while talking about Sterling playing as a striker rather than out wide. On current form, he would be hard to stop playing in a more central role, especially with the stellar supporting cast at City.
Sterling a vital player in City’s bid for European glory
While winning the Premier League title will always be an aim for Manchester City, winning the Champions League remains their holy grail. The Citizens once again start the season as favourites to win European football’s elite trophy next season.
Raheem Sterling’s form could be a key factor in City breaking their European duck this season. When he is on form, he can be simply electric, which obviously lifts his teammates. Circumstances have got in the way of City becoming European champions, as have some very strange decisions by the usually brilliant Guardiola. Getting the best out of Sterling could prove crucial if they are to conquer the European game.
The diminutive star has come a long way in the last few years. As should be the case with a still relatively young player, he seems to be getting better as every season goes by. It is scary that Raheem Sterling has not even hit his peak years yet as a footballer. In a few years’ time, we may be talking about one of the best players in the world, as the forward still has so much scope for improvement.
Can Raheem Sterling enjoy an even more productive campaign this season?