English football has been going through a rough patch of late, with Roy Hodgson’s tenure with the Three Lions so far culminating in early elimination from Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The FA created an FA commission to enhance and improve young English players and make the England national competitive again. Presently, it’s not all doom and gloom, with a valuable 2-0 away victory over Switzerland, a nation that are 11 places above England in the FIFA world rankings. One man who has gripped the nation with his amazing technical ability and has also gone on leaps and bounds for his club is Raheem Sterling.
Currently, Liverpool have plenty of England internationals amongst their ranks. Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert have all caught the eye of England bosses with their performances for their clubs in recent seasons. However, none of them have produced the same level of quality as Sterling.
Despite still only being 19-years-old, Sterling was catching the eye of several Premier League clubs at the age of 15 when he was part of the QPR academy. After Rafael Benitez signed the whizkid for £600,000 in 2010, Sterling later became the second youngest player to make a first team appearance for the Reds in 2012.
From that moment, Sterling hasn’t looked back and is currently by a long distance the best English talent in the country. Blessed with blistering pace, fantastic dribbling skills and some aggression despite his small frame, Sterling should be a winger based on the incredible attributes he has. However, after recently being moved into a more central role, Sterling has excelled massively. Credit has to go to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for how he has handled the young superstar. Considered to be a so called ‘bad boy’ with his bad temper and reluctance to authority, the one key factor that Rodgers has engraved in Sterling is maturity.
While Hodgson has discovered that Sterling is more effective in that number 10 role, the former Fulham and Blackburn Rovers gaffer has changed his formation from a standard 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation. Some have said that revolving a team around a 19-year-old is putting too much pressure on a young person’s shoulders. Many thought the team should revolve around captain Wayne Rooney because of his unquestionable quality.
Instead, Hodgson has switched Rooney to the wing in some national games so it can accommodate the central position behind the striker for Sterling. After being fast tracked into the first team at Anfield in 2012 because of an unsuccessful transfer window for Liverpool, Sterling found it difficult to hold down a regular spot, despite starting 19 consecutive games up until the New Year, but exhaustion and a thigh injury took its toll.
Now, Sterling has the capabilities to take the world by storm, and any young and aspiring footballer who wants to look up to a player in a similar situation and wants to make a success of himself should ook no further than Liverpool and England midfield sensation Raheem Sterling.