England opened their qualifying campaign for Euro 2020 with a 5-0 thumping of the Czech Republic at Wembley. There was no question about the match of the match, as Raheem Sterling bagged himself a hat-trick and an assist in the victory.
Incredibly, the win means that England have now suffered just one defeat in 27 European Championship qualifiers. The Three Lions are regarded as one the favourites to win Euro 2020.
Sterling has been on fire of late
Raheem Sterling has hit top form of late, for both club and country. The City winger has now scored seven times and produced two assists in his last seven competitive appearances. A record of 24 goals and 12 assists this season is an impressive one, especially as he does not always play 90 minutes.
He is fast becoming the Citizens and England’s most influential player. It is certainly a big turnaround for Sterling, who was derided during Euro 2016 when he was low on confidence. The 24-year-old seemed to become a target for a minority of England fans, who are probably the same ones who are now showering him with praise for his recent performances.
England have lacked truly world-class players in recent years. Sterling is now approaching that level after an improvement of his composure and his maturity.
A contender for the PFA Player of the Year
Raheem Sterling is one of the favourites to win PFA Player of the year this season. The fact the former Liverpool star has scored 15 goals and produced nine assists in the Premier League is certainly a good argument for the winger to claim the award that is for sure.
His main competitors for the award City teammate Sergio Aguero and Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk also have their own merits for the award, though. All three players have aided their teams’ bids for winning the Premier League title.
All three players will continue to aid their team’s title bid until the end of the season. It will certainly be a close-run race. If Sterling wins the PFA Player of the Year award then it will complete an extraordinary turnaround in his fortunes in the last few years.
Sterling will be pivotal to England’s Euro 2020 campaign
England usually easily qualify for big tournaments and then often flop in the finals. However, the Three Lions run to the semi-final of Russia 2018 has raised expectations among England fans.
It is fair that the expectations have risen, as the Three Lions have suddenly become a strong, cohesive and dangerous team. Arguably the current squad of players could give any team in a world a game, mostly due to the riches of attacking options available to boss Southgate.
Sterling is one of the most potent of those dangerous English attacking players. If England are to mount a realistic challenge for Euro 2020, then Sterling could be pivotal to that challenge.
The scary thing for Sterling’s opponents is that he is only likely to get better and better. At the minute, he is almost unplayable, so who knows how good he will be in a couple of years’ time.
Is Raheem Sterling now England’s most influential player?