Raheem Sterling: Can Man City forward have A ‘Lionel Messi’ season?BBC #Manchester_CityAugust 13, 2019
The Manchester City forward had a standout campaign in 2018-19, being named the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year, the PFA Young Player of the Year and making it into the PFA Team of the Year as his goals helped his team win the Premier League for the second successive year in a treble-winning season.
At 24 years and 245 days – the age Sterling was at the point of the Hammers game – he had played a remarkably similar amount of football to Messi when the Argentina international was the same age.
“Raheem Sterling is getting better,” former Arsenal striker Ian Wright told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“You can easily see someone like Raheem ending up with 35-40 goals this season because of the way he is playing, the chances Manchester City make and the way he is finishing.”
The message was from his new club manager, who had identified Sterling as a player with the potential to become one of the world’s best.
In only his second season working with Guardiola, Sterling scored 23 goals – more than double what he had managed in any of his previous six seasons in professional football.
Like Sterling, Messi’s goal-scoring record before playing under Guardiola was solid but not spectacular – he scored 16 times in the 2007-08 season.
While Guardiola’s coaching has undoubtedly helped improve Sterling, just as crucial to his improvement is the player’s mental strength.
West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has played alongside Sterling for England but was up against his international team-mate on Saturday.
“I’m not happy he scored a hat-trick but hopefully he can do well this season.”
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