Sterling looking good
Manchester City have had a great start to the season and one of the reasons is the much-improved form of the England winger, Raheem Sterling. Sterling has already provided two assists and two goals in Manchester CIty's first three Premier League games. In Gameweek 3, Sterling scored twice to give Manchester City an impressive 3-1 win at home to West Ham. His first goal arrived after only seven minutes and it was a great team goal, involving Sergio Aguero, Nolito and Sterling, who side-footed the ball past Adrian - the West Ham goalkeeper. Sterling had to wait until injury time for his second goal, and finally, finish off West Ham who had threatened an equaliser. Sterling's second goal was more individual, he collected the ball and ran inside the penalty area, he went round Adrian, and, instead of crossing, squeezed the ball home from a very tight angle. Sterling has been rejuvenated under Pep Guardiola and if he can maintain this form for the rest of the season, he will be a major player for City this season.
Where is he from?
Raheem Shaquille Sterling was born on 8 December 1994 in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, an island country in the Caribbean Sea. When he was seven years old he emigrated to the UK with his mother and they settled in London. He loved football from an early age and he got his first big chance when he was seen by a scout when he was just 9 years old. The scout, John Crieth, worked for QPR, who currently play in the Championship (the second level of English football). Sterling played for QPR's academy teams between 2003 and 2010 but never made a first-team appearance for the club. At the age of just 16, then Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez, saw his potential and signed Sterling for Liverpool for an initial £600,000. He made his Premier League debut at just 17 years and 107 days. He was the third youngest player to ever play for Liverpool.
"He was not scared of receiving the ball in any position. He is a big asset for any manager because he can play anywhere along the front, for club and his country." Rafa Benitez, ex-Liverpool manager, talking about Raheem Sterling.
What went wrong at Liverpool?
Over the next three seasons (2012-15), Sterling became one of Liverpool's best players and played over 100 times, scoring 23 goals. During his time with Liverpool, he made his international debut for England and played at the World Cup in Brazil. He also won the Golden Boy Award in 2014, which is awarded by football journalists to the best player in Europe aged under 21. He became known for his speed, technical ability and dribbling skills. In 2015, he decided against signing a new contract with Liverpool, which angered some Liverpool fans, and in July 2015, Manchester City signed Sterling for close to £50 million. His transfer to City was a record amount paid for a teenager and the most ever paid for an English player. The club that he played for as a youth player, QPR, also received 20% of the transfer fee, as part of Sterling's move to Liverpool from QPR. This sell-on fee is more than QPR had ever received for selling a player directly!
"I thought the move to City, at the time, was right for me and my heart was saying that is what I should do. That is what I have done and I have no regrets.” Raheem Sterling, talking about his controversial move to Manchester City.
How's he doing at City?
Raheem Sterling's first season at Manchester City was not a 100% success. He started brightly and scored after just three minutes on his debut, a pre-season friendly against Roma. He continued this good form at the beginning of the season and scored five goals and provided a number of assists as well as good individual performances. He also scored on his Champions League debut against Sevilla and scored twice against Borussia Monchengladbach to help City qualify for the group stages. In the New Year, however, his form dropped and he was also dropped from the first-team following an injury. Sterling was not seen as one of the top 10 performers in the Premier League for 2015/16, as he didn't feature in top 10 lists of most goals, most assists, most passes or best shot conversion. But, this wasn't a great surprise, not one of the 10 most expensive signings at the beginning of the season featured in these lists! Sterling's season finished at Euro 2016 with a very unsuccessful tournament with England, they got knocked out by Iceland.
With some journalists and even fans starting to think that Sterling has been an expensive flop, the winger has now started to show why City decided to pay Liverpool all that money. Pep Guardiola has arrived as manager and has sold some players that had been in the City side for a long time, such as Joe Hart, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony and others such as Yaya Toure look like they won't get a game. But, he has stuck by Raheem Sterling and he has started all three Premier League games this season and Sterling has repaid Guardiola's faith with some good displays. Guardiola has encouraged Sterling to go past defenders and to get to the by-line to cross the ball. Sterling is suddenly looking extremely confident and is asking for the ball. What a difference a few months can make!
"'Reborn', I keep seeing that word. It was difficult coming in that first season, and the manager has come in this season and given us a lot of courage! Raheem Sterling. talking about Pep Guardiola and his change in form.
Do you think Raheem Sterling will be a key player in the Manchester Derby this weekend?
There was a lot of football vocabulary in this article. Try the quiz below and test your understanding of football vocabulary. All the answers are taken from the article and are in bold in the text above.
What do you think?
Will Raheem Sterling have a big impact on the Manchester Derby? Which type of player can have a big impact in a big match?
Why has Raheem Sterling's form improved under Pep Guardiola? Can you think of any other players that didn't perform well after a big money transfer?
Do you understand all the words in the article? Was there any vocabulary that you would like some help with?