What a season Raheem Sterling is having. Despite all the criticism he’s received over the years, he’s now establishing himself as one of the standout stars in world football and he’ll be key if Manchester City are to continue winning trophies.
His hat-trick on Saturday against Watford took his tally to 18 goals and 15 assists in all competitions this season, and there’s no sign of him slowing down. The importance of some of those goals, like the winner away at Schalke a couple of weeks ago, are vital to understanding his important in Pep Guardiola’s side too.
He’s been criticised for his finishing abilities in the past, along with a stupid amount of trivial off-pitch things too, but this season and last he’s arriving in the box at exactly the right moment to receive the ball. He’s also getting his head down and running at players with one intention, to get into the box and create a chance.
There are times when City’s possession can lead to a lack of chances created. The ball moves slowly from left to right as the opposition sit back, happy with City’s players in front of them. Sterling provides the spark that turns this into a direct threat within seconds, and he’s now consistent and up there as one of Pep Guardiola’s most reliable players.
In a season where Kevin De Bruyne has started just seven of City’s 30 games, the 24-year-old has stepped up, and if the Blues win the league he’s got a very strong claim to be the league’s player of the season, alongside Virgil Van Dijk.
He scored 18 goals in the Premier League last season, and he’s on 15 so far this campaign, so another season around the 20 mark will prove just how consistent the Englishman is.
If he keeps it up he’ll cement himself as one of the world’s top players, no matter what his haters say.
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