News Americas, LONDON, England, Weds. Sept. 4, 2019: Raheem Sterling’s remarkable season has been further recognized this year with the Manchester City forward 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.
Now on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, the question was asked whether Sterling could have a season that Lionel Messi – the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and regular scorer of 30+ goals per season – would be proud of.
It’s remarkable considering Sterling was only five years old when he came to England with his mother from Kingston, Jamaica. After joining Liverpool from QPR’s academy, he became one of the hottest prospects in the Premier League. Sterling quit Anfield for Man City, however, and has taken his form to a new level at the Etihad. He’s already something of a tournament veteran as Sterling has played at three for the Three Lions.
Sterling was also Lescott’s number one contender for Player of the Year 2019. The Jamaica-born forward also suffered an unfortunate loss at a very early age: “When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death. I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my lifetime,” he wrote. “I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning.”
Sterling never knew his father, who was killed in Jamaica, but says he has been inspired by him on the biggest occasions of his short career. It is his mother, Nadine, who he cites as the greatest influence, as well as his harshest critic.
They emigrated from Kingston, Jamaica after the tragedy and settled in North-west London. There the gifted youngster played football in the shadow of Wembley stadium and attracted scouts from Queens Park Rangers.
He was removed from mainstream education due to behavioral issues and his former teacher at Vernon House special school, where his teacher, Chris Beschi, told him: “If you carry on the way you’re going, by the time you’re 17 you’ll either be playing for England or you’ll be in prison.”
It looks like he was right about the former. His mother did not wish to keep him in North-west London where the gang culture was very influential and wished for him to move out of London. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Fulham were all keen to sign Sterling, but location counted against them. That enabled Liverpool to secure his services, beating City to a deal.
Sterling flourished at Liverpool and at the age of 17, he made his full league debut at Anfield against Manchester City. A full England debut against Sweden followed three months later. Moving onto Manchester City and under the demanding guidance of Pep Guardiola, Sterling has produced the finest football of his career. Sterling scored 23 goals as City cruised to the Premier League title with a record of 100 points. “He’s got bollocks,” said Hodgson, before the last World Cup in Brazil.
Ex England footballer, Joleon Lescott, also praised Sterling’s talent in an exclusive interview: “Sterling has come on leaps and bounds this season, after the successes of the World Cup and he still hasn’t reached his full potential so that is something I’m excited to see from him. I enjoy watching Sterling play and he is a great player who can find pockets of space and hit the back of the net.”