Just why has the 20 year old become one of the most hated players in Britain?
BY ARCHIE BARNETT
Last week Raheem Sterling officially completed his transfer from Liverpool to Manchester City for a sum of around £49m and has since made his debut for the Blues on their tour down under - and additionally opening his account for City after grabbing the opening goal against Roma on Tuesday morning.
Of course, the figure paid by City was ludicrous, especially for a 20-year-old who endured a frustrating campaign for Liverpool last season, but it really is a mystery why he has suddenly become the target of bile from football fans across the globe.
*Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac*
Cast your minds back to 2014 when Liverpool, spearheaded by an attack including Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Sterling, were making massive strides towards winning their first league title in 24 years. And when the Reds managed to defeat Pellegrini’s men at Anfield in the run-in, people were starting to genuinely believe they could do it.
Part of this was thanks to the role Sterling played and he had suddenly become one of the poster boys - not just for Liverpool, but for England as well. As we all know, an infamous slip was to stop the Merseyside outfit from lifting the title, but Sterling’s form had rightly sprung him into the World Cup squad for Brazil and he was seen as one of very few who could provide a creative spark in Hodgson’s squad.
Fast forward to July 2015, and some people genuinely believe Sterling is now useless and Pellegrini has insisted City splash out just under £50m for a benchwarmer. Granted, the past year for Sterling hasn’t been the best, but some have conveniently forgotten that Brendan Rodgers consistently started to pin Liverpool’s hopes on his shoulders thanks to the sale of Suarez and Sturridge’s list of injury problems.
It was ridiculous that a footballer as young as 20 was having a team built around him, and he understandably struggled.
That won’t be the case at City. Pellegrini has brought him in to supplement the quality in the squad. The Chilean has identified a weakness in the squad and sought to fix it by bringing in an English winger who has the quality to become one of the world’s best talents in a few years time. In truth, there was no hope of that happening at Liverpool, but surrounded by the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, it would be a disappointment if he didn’t improve his game and reach new levels.
I can just about understand Liverpool fans being angry - the whole situation was handled poorly by Sterling and his agent and that is a worry in the future if anything was to happen at City - but they have received a large sum of money for a player who they perceive to be average.
What I do not understand, is those across the country who have no affiliation to City or Liverpool branding Sterling a money grabber and genuinely believe he will be a benchwarmer for the duration of his contract at the Etihad Stadium.
With EURO 2016 approaching quickly, the nation should be delighted that one of our best talents has decided to take on a big challenge and make the step up to Champions League football in order to improve his game. It will only be beneficial for him to be around world class players week in, week out and realistically, this season could be the breakthrough that Sterling needs.