Raheem Sterling has enjoyed six glorious years at Man City, winning three titles, the FA Cup and four League Cups but has only started two Premier League matches this season
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- 21:00, 14 Oct 2021
Raheem Sterling has established himself as one of the Premier League’s biggest stars.
England forward Sterling has enjoyed six glorious years at Manchester City, winning three titles, the FA Cup and four League Cups.
He has also become one of the most respected voices within the sport, was England’s best player at the Euros and has become one of football’s most marketable stars.
But at the heart of everything remains Sterling’s pure love of the game which is why his current situation is clearly deeply affecting him. He lives for football, this is not about money but wanting to play.
Sterling, 26, said: “From a young child, football has been the most important thing in my life. My most happiest I should say. When I play football that is where I get my happiness from.
Raheem Sterling has only started two Premier League matches this season
“And of course with family as well but football for me has a special place in my heart.
“With everything that comes with football, money, being able to do nice things…at the end of the day, if football for me is not at a certain standard I’m not really at my happiest.
“If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals. And enjoying myself.”
Sterling is clearly not at his happiest at the moment. He has started just two Premier League games for City this season, he says he will not complain but equally feels it will take time to adjust to playing as a No9 if that is where Pep Guardiola sees him.
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Despite losing his place this season, his maturity and professionalism has been noted and congratulated within the City camp. This is not an immature player sulking because he is not in the team. If anything, he has been a model professional.
His desire to win more trophies is stronger than ever but if City boss Guardiola does not see him as a regular starter then he will have to think about moving on.
Sterling shook the football world by leaving Liverpool in 2015 to join City in a £49m deal and his success at the Etihad has fully justified his decision.
But now, six years on, Sterling finds himself at another crossroads as the clock is ticking on his current contract which expires in 2023 and he is into the final two years.
Newcastle have been linked with a move for Raheem Sterling
Action Images via Reuters)
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This is crunch time and, even though it would be unthinkable for City to consider selling him in January, that could change if he does not sign by next summer. City remain confident that he will re-sign but Sterling’s mindset is pretty clear.
Sterling set out his own objectives in a very frank conversation at the FT’s Business of Sport Summit but his philosophy also reveals his burning ambition and why he is not content to just sit on the bench.
When asked about his targets, he said: “Keeping humble, keeping that hard working spirit, chasing the next goal. Making targets, trying to do better than I did last season.
“Trying to get better numbers than I did last season. Keeping that hunger. Keeping that in your stomach. That’s the only way you can get better from here.
“Consistency. You might have a Champions League game mid-week against one of the biggest teams in Europe, and then at the weekend you might have to travel to one of the teams in the relegation zone.
“It’s having that same will and desire. Going to Champions League and then doing the same thing on a cold day somewhere where a team is fighting for survival. It’s that consistency. To win and want to win.
“It gets to the point where you are like right, ok, now this is the direction I need to go to get to the next level, and when I get there ok what’s the next level up. You’re always trying to make a step up and there are frustrations along that way. It’s how you overcome them to keep elevated.”
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