Mental strength

I think it’s fair to say Sterling didn’t have a particularly good relationship with the media during the 12 months leading up to the 2016/17 season.

He received sustained criticism from both the papers and fans for his drawn-out contract talks with Liverpool, his controversial big money move to Manchester, and his unspectacular first season for City. The European Championships in the summer of 2016 didn’t help – Raheem became the scapegoat for a weak, under-performing England team that left France before the quarter final stage.

Fans were quick to take out their frustrations on social media and the papers were quick to vilify him.

Footballing improvements aside, Sterling, who only turned 22 in December, must be credited for ignoring his critics. Another player without his thick skin would not have been able to grow so rapidly as a player amongst his public condemning.

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