The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

In the defence of Raheem Sterling

With the whole country on the back of a very low 21 year old Raheem Sterling, is he not just a pair of shoes that needs some love?

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If I pay £180 for a flash pair of shoes then I want them to be reliable, whereas my Primark plimsolls will always receive the benefit of the doubt, and I would barely notice if the tac at the end of the shoelace disintegrated. It’s simple – I want my money’s worth. The same applies to footballers, as the more expensive a footballer is, the less likely they are to get away with any mistakes, the same is true of Raheem Sterling.

He became one of those footballers after his summer move to Manchester City saw him become the most expensive English footballer ever. This is completely understandable, as everyone is entitled to an opinion in this giant sport; my only problem is that with Sterling people seem determined to be dissatisfied with him and his efforts no matter what, due to this sizeable price tag. If my £180 pair of shoes get a hole in then I am well within my right to be unhappy with them, but if my shoe is just getting scuffed occasionally, then I have no right to be angry. Every shoe makes mistakes I must be a forgiving soul.

Cast your minds back to two summers ago and you’ll find yourself thinking about Raheem Sterling… or a past lover that you’re evidently not over. Sterling was one of the highest rated young footballers in the country, with everyone excited about the young lad’s innate ability whilst he was ripping up the rule book and terrifying the league’s defenders for Liverpool after coming to prominence at 17. Sterling left Liverpool for Champions League football at Manchester City, at the tender age of 20. The price paid for Sterling was believed to be around £44Million, as City splashed the cash on his tremendous potential; the future was bright!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In his first season at Manchester City, Raheem Sterling injected them with some necessary pace and excitement that they lacked the season before, whether it be down the wing or occasionally through the centre. He had statistically his best season ever season after scoring eleven goals and having ten assists, but it was evident that his game deteriorated during the season under Manuel Pellegrini, and he rarely started by the end of the season, seeing his season described as disappointing by press, fans and lonely twitter trolls alike.

The criticism was harsh there is no doubt, and obviously affected Sterling with his confidence now being at a low whilst away in France at the Euros. Ever happy to kick a man while he’s down, some in the English press feel happy to jump on Sterling and suggest that he’s finished… I feel now would be a nice time to include a gentle reminder that Sterling is only 21 years old. Ian Wright hadn’t even started playing football until 22. Sterling is seeing a psychologist with the England team in order to try and combat his confidence issue, and some have taken issue with this and feel fit to point the finger and mock this. You know, because it’s 100% okay to take the piss out of someone seeing a psychologist if they get paid loads – and it’s not at all bitter, cruel or derogatory to do so. If the lad plays badly then there’s no problem with fans and journalists mentioning it, as this is just part and parcel of the job, but there was a sense with Sterling that from day one many were waiting for him to slip up and were quite happy for him to do so.

I’m not denying that Sterling’s season has been somewhat underwhelming, but there has been enough evidence from the young lad that he can go on and be one of the best! Sterling has plenty of time to turn around this lack of confidence though as his career is in front of him, and with Manchester City hiring the best football manager in recent history in Pep Guardiola, he is definitely in the right hands to do so! Guardiola is famous for being a great man manager, and it is evident that Sterling would definitely prosper from an arm round his shoulder and a word in his ear (in a less creepy way than that sounds). I hope that Sterling does it for a few reasons: one being because he has the ability and it would be great to see him fulfil it; another is that I can then smugly retweet this article every time he does well; and the finally because it will prove how fickle the footballing world really is as the masses create Raheem shrines in their bedrooms and the value of the pound increases due to the love of Sterling.

Curiously, Sterling was boo’d up and down the country this season, whether that be at Aston Villa or West Brom. Why? Well because he left for a club that were more likely to win a trophy and were playing in the Champions League – yea, I don’t get it either. Sterling could definitely be a class player for City and England in the coming years, and yet many England fans seem to prefer believing in his ‘inevitable’ fall! It’s sort of like when you won’t ask Tony to become your boyfriend despite how you really like him, just in case he breaks your heart like all the other men before him. Let me tell you this, Tony is worth the risk – it is better to have loved and lost than never to have ever loved.