Raheem Sterling’s big money move from to Manchester City last summer was one of the hottest talking points of the transfer window. The argument was that the young speedster had undeniable potential, but was he really worth £50million? It seems now, after a disappointing year, that Liverpool made a highly shrewd move in selling the player. Now there is the wonder as to whether there will even be a place for the English forward in Pep Guardiola’s team.
Pundits suspected that moving to the one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and rubbing shoulders with Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Yaya Toure would push Sterling forward rapidly in his development. In the end, the 21-year-old was completely outshone by City’s other hugely expensive summer acquisition, Kevin De Bruyne, and towards the end of the season had become a peripheral figure in the City squad.
Roy Hodgson, still a believer in his raw talent, kept his faith in Sterling and took him to France for the Euros. He even decided to start the Jamaican-born winger ahead of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge. This decision was not vindicated and, in the second group match against Wales, Sterling missed a peach of a chance as he met Adam Lallana’s cross and booted the ball into the stands. This performance coupled with his meek display in the opening match forced the England fans to turn on the player, and there is now an internet petition to send him home.
Luckily Hodgson bravely admitted his decision was wrong and removed the City forward at half time against Wales. By replacing him and Harry Kane with Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, England managed to turn the game on its head and snatch an incredible winning goal. Now, reports suggest that Hodgson could stick with that second half line-up as the tournament progresses. This could be why, after playing two games in the group, the Euro 2016 final odds see England at 16/5 to book a place at the Stade de France.
If England make it all the way to the final, it seems unlikely that Sterling will have a part to play now, which has led to fresh questions about how he may fit into Guardiola’s plans. The player himself has admitted that he fears for his future under the two-time Champions League winner. The Catalan’s style of play is one-touch, quick passing and possession based football, a system that doesn’t exactly suit the speedy dribbler’s natural instinct to run at opposition defences with pace. City’s new manager will also no doubt be granted enough money to buy any player he wants.
On the other hand, though, Guardiola may be the person who can take Sterling to the next level. After having worked with so many world-class, talented individuals, the former Barcelona manager may have what it takes to tap into and harness that raw talent that everyone knows is there.
Guardiola takes over at the Etihad in July, and Sterling may have to suffer an agonising wait until then to know what his future holds.