This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
As quoted by The Manchester Evening News, West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed Raheem Sterling is Manchester City’s “key player”.
City opened up their Premier League title defence with an emphatic 5-0 win over the Hammers, and Wilshere’s first-hand look at the champions saw him single out hat-trick hero Sterling for praise.
He said: “He’s playing in a great team but he’s arguably their key player. He’s never dropped and probably the first name on the teamsheet for Pep. I thought he was brilliant (on Saturday) and he was brilliant last year. It shows what type of character he is to come through (the 2014 World Cup) and to be one of the best players in the league last year.
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“He’s started well this season. He’s a nightmare to play against. You don’t know if he’s going to come inside and he’s so sharp off the mark.”
Year on year, Sterling continues to turn himself into one of the Premier League’s elite goal-scoring wingers. His hat-trick against West Ham was a mark of ruthlessness the 24-year-old is continuing to develop.
Leroy Sane’s unfortunate injury will simply increase the burden on Sterling’s shoulders, but the England international has shown he is capable of stepping up to the plate for Pep Guardiola’s side. Last season, the former Liverpool ace found the back of the net 25 times in 51 appearances across all competitions, and also showed a more selfless side with an impressive 18 assists.
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As City continue to pursue titles on multiple fronts, Sterling will be expected to have another fine campaign. And on the basis of his first performance in the league, despite all the talent on show at the Etihad, he may well be the champions’ most pivotal figure, just as Wilshere said.