The short career of Raheem Sterling is an intriguing one. After meteoric rise at Liverpool, the winger was seen as a future star, but a difficult first campaign in Manchester paired with a poor Euro 2016 means be is facing a crucial season with City.
Last summer Sterling completed a £49 million move to Manchester City, making him the most expensive Englishman in football history. However things didn’t quite work out, and despite beating former club Liverpool to the Capital One Cup in February, he didn’t made the impression he’d have wanted at the Etihad.
When he burst on to the scene at Liverpool during the 2012/13 season, Sterling showed all the hallmarks of a man with the potential ability to play at the highest level. His impressive form saw him win the Golden Boy award in 2014 for the best player under the age of 21 in Europe.
In hindsight, his decision to leave Liverpool probably came too early, as be was playing regular football in a team that was set up to suit the way he played. The move to Manchester City came as a result of failed contract negotiations at Anfield, mainly down to an on going disagreement with manager Brendan Rodgers.
Despite a good start to his season, things quickly went downhill at City, and he finished the campaign out of the side. He played 31 games, but scored just six goals and provided only two assists.
This was form he carried into Euro 2016 with England, and he was heavily criticised for his performances for the Three Lions. This could now be a make or break season for him under Pep Guardiola.
From what he has done at Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Guardiola will most likely demand a lot from his players, and he will not think twice before dropping them from the team. Given how inconsistent Sterling has been with his form in his career, he may struggle to hold down a place in the starting XI.
Guardiola has also shown that he is loyal to players who prove their ability, and it will be very difficult for Sterling to get himself back into the team if he finds himself out of it. It seems clear that he needs work on his game.
Pace is a key aspect of the 21-year-old’s game, but he can’t expect to play based on that alone. He has regularly shown a pretty poor final product, and this is proved by his under par goals and assists tally.
There is no doubting that Sterling has the ability to succeed at the highest level, but while he his held back by poor form and off the field issues, he will never reach his potential.