Raheem Sterling is arguably the most important footballer in England right now. Indeed, he’s proven with Manchester City that he is one of the best in the Premier League and, off the field, he has become one of the most outspoken players on racism.
For City, it is undeniable that Sterling is a hugely important figure in their attack. Since his arrival in 2016, Pep Guardiola has nurtured his talent and seemingly boosted his confidence, turning him into a top-class performer, with the former Liverpool man bagging 58 goals in 144 games under the Spaniard.
His international performances, though, still have not reached the same level. He received his 50th cap on Thursday, in the semi-final defeat to the Netherlands though failed to impress when handed the captain’s armband by Gareth Southgate. In what was a disjointed performance from the whole side it seems, the 24-year-old managed just 1 shot, 1 dribble and was dispossessed twice by the Dutch.
As a result, talkSPORT host, Andy Goldstein, believes that Sterling’s performances for England have not been good enough.
“In an #MCFC shirt, Raheem Sterling is fantastic.”
“He’s still not doing it for me in an England shirt.”@AndyGoldstein05 is still not convinced that Raheem Sterling produces at the highest level when he represents England.
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 11, 2019
Goldstein, in the video, says he wants to see consistent performances from Sterling for the Three Lions as for a supposed top class player he does not do it enough for England. How many times have we heard that over the years?
Still, this is a valid point made by Goldstein, Sterling has only scored eight goals for England and set up 14 and these are not good enough numbers for the man who is widely considered to be on the best in the Premier League.
Admittedly, stats do not tell the whole story, and Sterling playing in behind Harry Kane in Russia freed the usual skipper from the attention of defenders, but his performances sparked debate as to how good they actually were at the time.
Perhaps it’s unwise to draw comparison between the teams, though. Clearly, City are one of the best in the world and Sterling has the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Bernado Silva feeding him, along with Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero to flank there. Even the most ardent England fan would surely find it hard to argue that Southgate has anywhere near that kind of quality in his set-up, despite their journey in last year’s World Cup.
Criticism of Sterling’s international record is fair and the player himself admitted he was ashamed of his scoring rate for England but expecting him to replicate what he does at City with a lower quality of teammate is a touch unrealistic. There must be an improvement here if he is to be considered on the same kind of level as the very best but that rise should be supported by a better framework throughout the team.
Will the English national team ever see the same Sterling Manchester City enjoy so regularly? What’s the real problem here? Join the discussion by commenting below…