Former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling has drawn unjustified criticism from every angle since leaving Anfield in 2015, but, in the face of adversity, has come out on top.
The former Queens Park Rangers youth player was gifted his opportunity by Brendan Rodgers during the infamous 2013/14 campaign, and we can understand why fans felt a little aggrieved when he departed two seasons later to join Manchester City, leaving Liverpool to the destitute of a bitterly disappointingly brush with success, and subsequent collapse.
The exciting winger helped form one of the deadliest forward line-ups in modern Premier League history, alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. It had everything. Pace and penetration on the wings in the form of the two Englishman and a mercurial Uruguayan talent in the centre to sprinkle touches of magic on every attack.
However, where the others were already well-established talents, 19-year-old Raheem Sterling was a bit of a surprise package, playing with a youthful zest that can only be found within those who have not yet been blooded into the disciplined demands of senior football.
Indeed, the talent was clearly there, and the plaudits were out in force. This was one of England’s brightest young talents coming through the ranks of the nation’s darling, Liverpool.
But for all the quality and praise, the compliments were often accompanied by wistful conjectures of ‘what if?’ – what if his finishing was a little better, or he was a little more clinical around the box?
Doubts about his finishing so often surrounded the analysis of his game, and despite netting a respectable 23 goals and 25 assists in 129 games, it never felt like enough who promised so much during the inaugural years of his fledgeling Premier League career.
Needless to say, he has answered his critics in the most emphatic style since moving to Manchester City, recording an incredible 63 goals and 63 assists in 180 appearances, and helping his current side towards a record-breaking title victory.
This is made all the more impressive by the fact it has been done on the backdrop of a media witch hunt that has trailed his every move waiting to pounce on the most trivial of events to turn him into the football’s most hated villain – a feat they have regrettably achieved.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience