“I’ve known Raheem for a good few years now. He is a good friend of mine and my team-mate,
“He has just got to do whatever he thinks is best but, if I was giving him advice, of course I would say: ‘This is Liverpool’. I think this is the best place for him’.
“But at the end of the day that decision is up to him. He is a fantastic player for us. I hope he stays here and develops with us. He will be a big part of what we are looking to do.”
Another day, another Raheem Sterling update, and this time it’s Jordan Henderson attempting to coerce the youngster into staying at Anfield. The facts are as follows, Henderson has penned a new £100,000-per-week deal, Sterling has rejected a similar offer and big clubs are chasing the 20-year-old.
The England international has two years to run on his current contract, but with the summer transfer window looming, there’s every possibility he could leave for a sizable offer, despite Liverpool’s eagerness to keep him.
It’s been said before that Sterling should probably stay, but here are FIVE reasons he should be taking Henderson’s advice…
2,603 minutes in the Premier League this season. Only Jordan Henderson and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet have enjoyed more game time than the 20-year-old this season, and had it not been for his mid-season Jamaican holiday – we mean break – he would almost certainly have the most minutes of any Reds player under his young belt.
At such a tender age this level of responsibility and importance is rare, which shows that he is truly appreciated by Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool as a whole. Should he leave for a side like Chelsea, Manchester City or even Manchester United, would his playing time be so frequent? Probably not.
Although he made his Liverpool debut under Kenny Dalglish, Sterling’s breakthrough is largely credited to Rodgers. The Northern Irishman made him a regular in his side at the age of 17 when he took charge at Anfield, and in seeing his development it’s clear that the Kop chief knows the youngster’s game inside out.
It’s important for Sterling to be working under a boss with good knowledge of his abilities, limitations and fitness while he’s still developing, with such familiarity key in ensuring he’s given every advantage needed to fulfil the massive potential he has.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell, Andy Carroll… all of the aforementioned names suffered from the ‘too much, too young’ curse. Young English talent is really at a premium, and with quotas in need of filling, the biggest clubs have often paid over the odds in terms of wages and fees to land them early on.
Wright-Phillips was a genuine star, albeit a little older than Sterling, 10 years ago, but the money outweighed the lack of opportunities he’d gain at Chelsea and his career declined rapidly. He’s now at QPR and cannot get a game. Sad.
At 20, Sterling can feasibly wait another three/four years and still be considered to be one of Europe’s top young players. At his current age, playing time is needed, and he can certainly get that at Liverpool for the coming few seasons.
By the time he’s matured as a player and as a person, he’ll be much more suited to the ‘big move’ he appears to have his eye on, and will still have, potentially, almost 10 years to fulfil his silverware aims.
Jordan Henderson’s decision to commit to a new deal follows the lead of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, with the three, plus Sterling, considered to be the future of the Reds’ first-team. Jordon Ibe and Martin Skrtel are likely to be handed fresh terms soon, while transfer links suggest that top names such as Memphis Depay are wanted at Anfield. The future could be bright.