Raheem Sterling has become the scapegoat for Manchester City and England supporters while being mocked and goaded whenever his sides produce an abject performance.
Sterling is continuously receiving negative criticism from the media, opposition fans and on social media whenever he misses a goal-scoring opportunity, but why?
What is the country’s need and desperation for one of the best young talents to fail miserably despite never hiding away from responsibility?
His departure from Liverpool has left a bitter taste in the mouth of their supporters, which is understandable considering City are now a more attractive move for players who aren’t interested in hearing about the legend of Bob Paisley, Istanbul or how they are apparently the biggest club in the world like it’s 1983.
The decision Sterling took to reject a contract extension and move to the most exciting project in world football was criticised as it became fashionable and convenient to paint him as a symbol of failure for his ‘failed’ first-season at Manchester City in 2016.
How many 20-year-old’s score 11 goals and 10 assists a season and are deemed a failure? That’s not forgetting he collected a winner’s medal in the Capital One Cup in his inaugural season at City – coincidentally at Liverpool’s expense after the Blues beat Liverpool 3-1 on penalties.
Last season, Sterling scored ten goals in a season that saw him showcase his bravery, talent skill under new City manager Pep Guardiola. His performances were deemed the best of his career as he moved from a left-wing position to a natural right-wing and he found himself attacking full-backs far more with the backing of the world’s greatest manager.
This season, Sterling has moved up at least another level to that bracket under world-class. Sterling has scored twenty-two goals in a season that has seen him collect two more medals, and his first Premier League title.
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is still waiting for that medal, but he remains labeled a hero for not moving to Chelsea in 2005 where he would have claimed every major honour in world-football – a status Sterling wasn’t interested in and preferred to win trophies instead.
Some would argue Sterling has become City’s most important attacking player as he continues to find himself a move ahead of everyone to create space with intelligence and movement beyond any other player in the Premier League.
If he was more clinical in front of goal, there’s no denying Sterling would score 30-40 goals a season, but look at how and why he always get himself into positions to score.
Despite costing Manchester City £44million in 2015, Sterling’s valuation would be close to the £100million barrier. Under Guardiola’s guidance, Sterling has learned crucial aspects of the game that have elevated him to become City’s second-highest goal-scorer, behind only Sergio Aguero.
Sterling is 22-years-old and an English international. Except for bitter Liverpool fans, there’s no reason why Sterling should be subject to abuse by opposition away fans for ninety-minutes when City travel away from home.
Surely as one of your nations hottest prospects, it’s time to now cherish Sterling and admire his rise instead of booing him because various media outlets tarnished his personality with false stories of him moving from a media darling club to English football’s most dominating side for financial reasons, and not for the obvious hunger for success.