Name: Kazaiah Sterling
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Date of Birth: 9 November 1998
Kazaiah Sterling – his career so far
Kazaiah Sterling is another Tottenham Hotspur youngster who had to go out on loan to find a more regular role that can give him enough game time to properly develop in the not so distant future. At 21, the talented centre-forward is at the stage of his career when his potential has to be brought out in the open if he is to tango on a top-level.
But he is very much a local boy, North London born and bred, and has been a part of Spurs’ academy, featuring regularly for their U16 squad back in 2014/15 and then progressing up the ranks and into the U18 team as well, making his debut in October 2014 in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Some of his most notable performances have arrived when he was playing for that team too, as Sterling can boast with ten goals and three assists across a total of 24 games for the U18s and even more impressively, 18 goals and four assists in 39 games for Spurs’ U23 team as well.
He also managed to find success while participating in the UEFA Youth League, bagging four goals and a solitary assist in the team’s advances through the competition.
But for all his talent, Sterling never really had a proper chance to showcase that big potential at senior level. He stepped up for his competitive first-team debut in a 3-0 Champions League routing of APOEL at Wembley in December 2017, and was then subsequently substituted in as a late replacement for his teammate Fernando Llorente to sit on the bench in the Premier League 3-1 home defeat by Manchester City in April 2018.
A similar thing happened a year later when he was an unused sub on the bench for Spurs’ 2-1 victory over Fulham in January 2019. His second and only other appearance for the seniors arrived later that month, against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, but with minimal effect as he could only tally nine minutes under his name.
Sterling has had multiple loans, once to Sunderland and then to Doncaster, before landing at Leyton Orient in the previous January transfer window. He is, however, yet to tally a single appearance for the League Two outfit.
Even though it were injuries that plagued Sterling’s previous loan spells, it seems that he may have difficulties slotting into Jose Mourinho’s team upon his eventual return to London. The latest transfer rumours indicate that the Special One won’t include him in the squad and they just might start listening to other offers when the time comes.
But even though this is not really the Tottenham news he’d be hoping to hear, nothing is set in stone just yet, especially with the team struggling to fill in that striker position ever since Harry Kane’s serious injury.
As of right now, however, Sterling might face an uphill battle if he wishes to impress the Portuguese gaffer back in London but the talent is certainly there and could surface if the 21-year-old can stay injury-free and find consistency in his game time.
Despite the latest round of transfer news putting him away from Spurs, his ability should still not be underestimated. He may be far from senior football under Mourinho but he does have first-team experience from his stay at Sunderland and Doncaster, despite playing in lower leagues than the English top-flight.
Some of his best traits seem to be the aggressiveness and tendency to make lethal runs behind the opposition’s defensive line. Being a striker, Sterling does have an eye for goal and that competitive mentality that made sure he would power through rough times and not buckle under the pressure.
Since 2019/20 and 2018/19 have been rather difficult for the young player as he couldn’t get regular game time, we’ll take a look at his career stats to determine some of his biggest strengths.
According to Wyscout’s database, he averaged 2.62 shots per 90 minutes and hits the target with an impressive 61.9% accuracy. His aggressive nature can be seen in 26.91 duels per 90 minutes and 4.48 touches in the box.
Similarly, he is also technical and good on the ball but can struggle in tight spaces. This is when his tendency to run behind the defensive line and into the free pocket of space comes to light.
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