Dubbed as the “next Theo Walcott”, the wonderkid has signed a contract until 2014 andwill join Liverpool’s academy, with further instalments being paid to QPR if the youngster breaks into the first team. Liverpool beat the likes of Manchester United, Man City, Fulham and Arsenal to sign the attacking midfield prodigy.
Lightning quick, Sterling is rated as high as Wayne Rooney was at that age, with QPR’s Head of Development Steve Gallen has heaped praise on the England U-16 international, saying:
“(Sterling) has loads of natural ability. This boy can pass, shoot, head it, score goals, tackle, defend, anything.”
The signing of Sterling represents a major coup for Liverpool and Academy Director Frank McParland in their bid to develop their academy. Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has hyped up his new signing, saying:
“We have made clear that we will invest in outstanding young talent. Raheem is a very exciting young English player whose progress was being closely monitored by many other leading clubs and I’m delighted he’s joining us.”
Liverpool’s desire to develop their academy is a result of the massive debts incurred by the American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, which mean the club cannot splash out millions on expensive new signings for the foreseeable future. Investing in youth is a policy that has worked wonders for Liverpool’s chief rivals like Arsenal and Manchester United, with Wenger and Ferguson masters at bringing young talent through the ranks at their clubs.
Rafael Benitez is not known for bringing in young talent and integrating them into his team, with youngsters like Lucas Leiva, David N’Gog and Emiliano Insua being brought in from elsewhere. Whatever happens though, Sterling has star potential and is an undeniable talent, and can help Liverpool build for the future by attracting other potential stars to join the Liverpool academy. It will be a few years before we start seeing him in the Liverpool first team, but the 15 year old has the real potential to be a star and live up to the mantle of being the next Theo Walcott.
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