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Raheem Shaquille Sterling (born 8 December 1994) is a professional footballer who plays as a winger and attacking midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the England national team.[4][5][6]

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling 2018.jpg
Sterling playing for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Raheem Shaquille Sterling[1]
Date of birth (1994-12-08) 8 December 1994 (age 24)[2]
Place of birth Kingston, Jamaica
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[3]
Playing position Winger / Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester City
Number 7
Youth career
1999–2003 Alpha & Omega
2003–2010 Queens Park Rangers
2010–2012 Liverpool
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2012–2015 Liverpool 95 (18)
2015– Manchester City 141 (55)
National team
2009–2010 England U16 7 (1)
2010–2011 England U17 13 (3)
2012 England U19 1 (0)
2012–2013 England U21 8 (3)
2012– England 55 (12)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:09, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:12, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Born in Jamaica, Sterling moved to London at the age of five and began his career at Queens Park Rangers before signing for Liverpool in 2010. He was awarded the Golden Boy award in 2014. In July 2015, following a lengthy dispute over a new contract, he was signed by Manchester City in a transfer potentially worth £49 million, the highest transfer fee ever paid for an English player at the time. He then went on to help Manchester City win back-to-back Premier League titles in the 2017–18 and 2018–19 seasons. In the 2018-19 season, he was named to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and won the PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

Sterling made his senior debut for England in November 2012 after previously being capped by England youth teams at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels. He was chosen in England's squads for the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups and UEFA Euro 2016.

Early life

Sterling was born in the Maverley district of Kingston, Jamaica, and spent his early years there.[7][8] His absent father was murdered in Jamaica when Sterling was two years old.[9][10] At the age of five, he emigrated to London with his mother,[7][8][11][12] and attended Copland School in Wembley, North West London.[13]

Club career

Early career

Sterling spent four years with local youth team Alpha & Omega before signing for Queens Park Rangers.[14]

Liverpool

 
Sterling warming up for Liverpool in 2011

Sterling was signed by Liverpool from the Academy at Queens Park Rangers in February 2010 by Rafael Benítez for an initial fee of £600,000, with the possibility of rising up to £5 million depending on how many appearances he made for the first team.[15][16]

He initially played in the club's youth team, scoring his first goal in a friendly against Hibernian in a 2–2 draw. His first Premier Academy League match was a 2–2 draw against Aston Villa, with his first win coming at home to Bristol City a week later. On 15 December, he scored in the FA Youth Cup in a 4–0 win over Notts County. On 14 February 2011, Sterling scored five goals in a 9–0 win over Southend United.[17]

On 24 March 2012, Sterling made his senior Liverpool debut as a substitute in a league match against Wigan Athletic, aged 17 years and 107 days, becoming the third-youngest player to play for the club in the process.[18] He made two more appearances over the remainder of the campaign, again as a substitute.[19][20]

2012–14: Development and breakthrough

In August 2012, he made his European debut for the club, coming on as a substitute in a UEFA Europa League qualifying match against Gomel, replacing Joe Cole in a 0–1 away win.[21] The following week, Sterling scored his first goal for the senior team with a first-half strike in a friendly against Bayer Leverkusen. On 23 August 2012, he started his first match for Liverpool in a Europa League qualifying match away to Hearts in a 0–1 win.[22] He was given his first start in the league three days later in a 2–2 draw at Anfield to Manchester City.[23] He played the full 90 minutes in the loss to Arsenal on 2 September, and the draw with Sunderland on 15 September, where he registered one assist and was named man of the match. On 19 September, Sterling was one of the group of teenagers that travelled to Switzerland to play Young Boys in a UEFA Europa League group match. He replaced Stewart Downing in the second half as Liverpool won 3–5.[24] On 20 October, Sterling scored his first senior competitive goal for Liverpool in the 29th minute in a 1–0 league win against Reading with a strike from the edge of the box. As a result, he became the second-youngest player ever to score in a competitive fixture for Liverpool, behind only Michael Owen.[25]

On 21 December 2012, Sterling signed a contract extension, committing his future to Liverpool.[26] He scored his second league goal for the club on 2 January 2013, opening the scoring in a 3–0 win against Sunderland with a lob over goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.[27]

 
Sterling playing for Liverpool in 2013

On 27 August 2013, Sterling scored his first goal of the 2013–14 season, the opening goal against Notts County in a 4–2 win in the League Cup.[28] On 4 December, Sterling scored his first Premier League goal of the season for Liverpool in a 5–1 win over Norwich City. His form in December saw him score two further goals in wins against Tottenham Hotspur (5–0) and Cardiff City (3–1).[29][30] On 8 February 2014, he scored twice in a 5–1 win against Arsenal at Anfield.[31] On 13 April, he scored Liverpool's opening goal in a 3–2 win over Manchester City.[32] A week later, he scored two goals and assisted another as Liverpool won 2–3 against Norwich City at Carrow Road.[33]

On 18 April 2014, Sterling was named as one of the six players on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.[34] He was named Liverpool Chartered Player of the Month for April.[35] At the end of the season, he was named Liverpool's Young Player of the Year.[36]

2014–15: Final season with Liverpool

On 17 August 2014, Sterling scored to help Liverpool to win their opening match of the 2014–15 season, a 2–1 win at home to Southampton at Anfield.[37] On 31 August, Sterling scored the opening goal in a 0–3 league win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and was named man of the match.[38] Sterling was named the Liverpool Player of the Month for August.[39]

On 16 September, Sterling made his UEFA Champions League debut in a 2–1 victory over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad at Anfield.[40] On 14 December 2014, he made his 100th appearance for Liverpool in a match against Manchester United at Old Trafford.[41] On 17 December, Sterling scored a brace in a 1–3 victory over Bournemouth at Dean Court in the League Cup quarter-final.[42]

On 20 December, Sterling was named as the recipient of the 2014 Golden Boy award. "It's down to hard work. I'm really happy that people are recognising that I'm trying to work hard and do my best for this football club. I'm really grateful for this award," he stated upon receiving the award.[43][44] Sterling was officially excused from Liverpool's FA Cup match against AFC Wimbledon in January 2015, with manager Brendan Rodgers aiming to prevent the player becoming exhausted. He used the time off to holiday in Jamaica.[45]

 
Sterling (right) playing for Liverpool in 2015

On 20 January 2015, Sterling scored a fine solo goal against Chelsea in a 1–1 draw in the League Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield, going past Nemanja Matić and Gary Cahill before beating Thibaut Courtois to find the net.[46] On 31 January, Sterling scored the opening goal in a 2–0 win over West Ham United.[47] On 4 February, Sterling scored the equaliser against Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium in a 1–2 away win for Liverpool.[48] On 22 February, he scored the second goal for Liverpool in a 0–2 win over Southampton.[49]

On 13 April, Sterling opened the scoring in a 2–0 win over Newcastle United.[50] He was named the team's Young Player of the Season on 19 May for the second consecutive year in a row, and when receiving the award was booed by fans due to his rejection of a new contract;[51] he was also booed on 7 June, while playing for England in Dublin.[52] On 16 April 2015, for the second consecutive year, he was named as one of the six players on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.[53]

Contract dispute

On 9 February 2015, Brendan Rodgers said that Sterling had been offered "an incredible deal" to stay at Liverpool, rumoured to be a new contract worth £100,000 a week, but he also stated Liverpool were "certainly not a club that is going to give way, way above what a player is worth at a certain time in their career."[54] However, on 20 March, Rodgers said Sterling's contract situation would not be resolved until the summer at least.[55]

On 1 April, Sterling gave an unsanctioned interview with the BBC, where he confirmed he had turned down a new deal, but denied that this was for reasons of money. He had two years of a £35,000 per week contract remaining and said that he would not negotiate a new contract until the end of the season.[56] Four days later, Brendan Rodgers slammed Sterling's advisors (Aidy Ward) on the interview, saying, "You are not a 20-year-old boy and you pick up the phone and ask to speak to the BBC. You don't do it. Him in particular. But, of course, if he is asked to do that by other parties then that is what he'll do."[57]

On 21 May, amid rumours that Sterling intended to leave the club his agent, Aidy Ward gave an interview to the London Evening Standard saying, "I don't care about the PR of the club and the club situation... He is definitely not signing. He's not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week."[58]

On 11 June, Liverpool reportedly rejected an initial bid of £30 million from Manchester City. One week later, they reportedly rejected a second bid from City for £40 million, with Liverpool valuing Sterling at £50 million.[59] Sterling reportedly later asked to be left out of Liverpool's preseason tour to Asia, and missed two days of training through illness, which was met with widespread criticism from former Liverpool players, including Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness.[60][61]

Manchester City

2015–16: Record breaking transfer and debut season

 
Sterling playing for Manchester City in 2016

On 12 July 2015, a deal was agreed for his transfer to Manchester City for an initial £44 million, with a further potential £5 million in add-ons, subject to personal terms and a medical, which would make him the most expensive English player of all time.[62][63] On 14 July, Sterling officially joined Manchester City, signing a five-year contract.[64] His debut came on 10 August, starting as City began the season with a 0–3 win away to West Bromwich Albion.[65] Nineteen days later, Sterling scored his first competitive goal for Manchester City in a 2–0 defeat of Watford at the City of Manchester Stadium.[66] Sterling scored his first career hat-trick as City beat Bournemouth 5–1 on 17 October.[67]

On 3 November, Sterling scored his first UEFA Champions League goal in a 1–3 win away to Sevilla.[68] On 8 December, he scored twice in the final ten minutes of City's last group stage fixture against Borussia Mönchengladbach, helping turn a 1–2 deficit into a 4–2 win and ensuring City overtook Juventus in the final group standings.[69] On 20 March 2016, he suffered a groin injury in a 1–0 loss to rivals Manchester United, and was ruled out for 8 weeks.[70] Sterling eventually lost his place in the starting line-up.[71]

2016–18: Collective and individual success

Sterling appeared regularly for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola for the opening matches of the 2016–17 season.[72] He was Premier League Player of the Month for August 2016 after he scored two goals and provided one assist in three games.[73] On 21 February 2017, Sterling scored the opener before setting up a goal for Sergio Agüero in a 5–3 home win against Monaco in the Champions League.[74]

On 26 August 2017, Sterling scored the winner in a 2–1 away win away to AFC Bournemouth in stoppage time. He was sent off by Mike Dean with a second yellow after he celebrated among travelling supporters that had run onto the pitch.[75] On 29 November 2017, Sterling scored a 96th-minute winner against Southampton in a 2–1 home win.[76] He scored his eighteenth and final league goal of the season during a 5–0 victory at Swansea City on 22 April 2018, his most ever at this point in his career.[77]

2018–19: Domestic treble with City

Following England's World Cup campaign, Sterling made an immediate return to the Manchester City starting line-up. On 12 August 2018, less than a month after starting in England's 2–0 loss against Belgium in the third place play-off, Sterling scored the opening goal in Manchester City's 2–0 away win against Arsenal.[78] The strike was Sterling's 50th Premier League goal.[79] On 4 November 2018, Sterling scored twice and made two assists in a 6–1 win against Southampton at home, scoring his 50th goal for Manchester City in all competitions in the process.[80] In November 2018, he signed a three-year extension to keep him at City until 2023.[81]

In December 2018, Sterling alleged that sections of the media served to "fuel racism" with their portrayal of young black footballers. The comments emerged after Sterling was subjected to alleged racist abuse during City's 2–0 defeat at Chelsea.[82]

He started off 2019 with a 2–1 win against Liverpool, where he assisted Leroy Sané's winning goal.[83] On 6 January 2019, he scored a goal and assisted one in a 7–0 win against Rotherham, which booked their place in the fourth round.[84] On 20 January 2019, he headed a goal to help City win 3–0 over Huddersfield Town.[85] On 3 February 2019, he helped assist two of Sergio Agüero's goal to beat Arsenal 3–1, which helped City move 2 points behind Liverpool.[86] On 10 February 2019, he scored two goals to beat Chelsea 6–0 at the Etihad.[87] On 20 February 2019, in a first leg match of the Champions League against Schalke, he scored the winning goal in the 90th minute in a 3–2 win.[88] In the Carabao Cup Final on 24 February 2019, he scored the winning penalty in the penalty shootout to win the cup.[89] The following month, he scored a hat-trick for the first time since 2015 within the space of 13 minutes – the fastest hat-trick of the season – to secure a 3–1 victory over Watford.[90] He scored again in the return leg of Man City's Champions League clash with Schalke to help the club record a 7–0 (10–2) victory and equal the record for the largest winning margin in the knockout-phase of the competition.[91][92] On 17 April 2019, Sterling scored two and had a winner on aggregate disallowed in injury time - which would've sealed his third hat-trick in the season - in Manchester City's 4-3 win over Tottenham Hotspur in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg, however they were knocked out on away goals after losing 1-0 in the first leg.[93] On 18 May 2019, Sterling scored twice as Manchester City defeated Watford 6–0 in the 2019 FA Cup Final to clinch a domestic treble.[94]

In the 2018–19 season, he was named to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and won the PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

2019–20 season

In the 2019 FA Community Shield against Liverpool on 4 August, Sterling scored the opening goal of the match in an eventual 1–1 draw; Manchester City ultimately won the title 5–4 on penalties.[95] In Manchester City's opening game of the 2019–20 Premier League, Sterling scored a second-half hat-trick – his third of the calendar year – in a 5–0 away win over West Ham, which put them top of the table on goal difference after one game.[96] On 22 October 2019, Sterling scored his first UEFA Champions League hat-trick in a 5–1 win over Atalanta.[97]

International career

Youth teams

Sterling's international career coincided with the introduction of the "home nations agreement." It was not until September 2009 that FIFA agreed to the proposals by the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Football Associations to update the agreement, allowing players who were educated in their nation for five years or more to become eligible for their national team.[98] Sterling first represented England at under-16 level in November 2009 in a match against Northern Ireland.[99] When speaking of the possibility of playing for Jamaica, Sterling said, "When it comes to that decision, that is when I will decide, but if Jamaica calls for me, why not?"[100]

Sterling was selected to play for England for the 2011 U-17 World Cup. He scored a long-range goal in England's opening 2–0 win against Rwanda in Pachuca.[101] He also scored against Argentina in the second round in a match where England won 4–2 on penalties.[102] On 10 September 2012, Sterling was called up to the senior England squad for the first time for a 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Ukraine, where he was an unused substitute.[103][104] In early October he was called up for the first time to the England under-21 squad and made his debut as a substitute during a match against Serbia on 16 October.[105][106] He scored his first goal for England U21 on 13 August 2013, in a 6–0 win against Scotland.[107]

Senior team

 
Sterling playing for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Sterling made his senior debut for England on 14 November 2012, starting in a friendly away to Sweden.[108] On 5 March 2014, Sterling earned his second cap and was named man of the match as England beat Denmark 1–0 in a friendly match at Wembley Stadium.[109][110]

On 12 May 2014, Sterling was named in England's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[111] In a pre-tournament friendly on 4 June, against Ecuador in Miami on his fourth cap, Sterling slid into Antonio Valencia, who reacted by grabbing Sterling's neck; both received red cards for their actions.[112] Valencia later apologised for his reaction.[113][114] On 14 June, Sterling started in England's opening group match, a 2–1 loss to Italy in Manaus, and was rated as the team's best performing player by the BBC.[115]

On 27 March 2015, Sterling scored his first senior goal for England in a 4–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium.[116] On 9 October 2015, Sterling scored his second goal of the qualifying campaign in a 2–0 victory against Estonia, by which point the team were already qualified.[117] He was one of 23 players chosen for the final tournament.[118]

He was named in the 23-man England national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[119]

After a run of 27 games without a goal for England, Sterling scored twice in a UEFA Nations League group game against Spain on 15 October 2018. England went on to win the match 3–2.[120]

Sterling scored his first hat-trick for England on 22 March 2019 in a 5–0 win over the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium in a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier.[121]

In November 2019 Sterling was dropped from the England team after clashing with international teammate but club rival Joe Gomez.[122]

Style of play

Sterling plays as a winger, attacking midfielder or striker, though he is more comfortable as a natural winger.[123][124][125] Sterling has been praised for his adaptability and ability to play wide, at the tip of a midfield diamond and centrally, offering flexibility.[46] Known for his pace, low centre of gravity, and dribbling skills,[126] Sterling has been compared to Alexis Sánchez by his former manager Brendan Rodgers.[127] Rodgers has also praised him for offering a "real threat," his use of pace with composure and his maturity.[128] Despite his small stature, he also possesses considerable upper-body strength, which aids him in withstanding challenges, and retaining possession.[126]

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi said in November 2014 that Sterling is good enough to play for the La Liga club, praising his physical and technical qualities.[129][130] In April 2015, BBC Sport columnist Phil McNulty wrote that Sterling was "very good with the potential to be outstanding" but remained a "work in progress" due to inconsistent performances. He also wrote, "He is blessed with natural pace that makes even the best defences and defenders take a step back."[131]

Outside of football

Personal life

In 2013, citing the influence of his mother, Sterling was quoted as saying he was "not 100 per cent religious but my belief is strong. When the time is right, I will fully be Christian." He added that he put his faith in God and that he prays regularly.[132] He has one daughter, Melody Rose, born in 2012 after a brief relationship.[133]

On 8 August 2013, Sterling was arrested for an alleged common assault on his former girlfriend, a model. He was found not guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court on 20 September, when the complainant was unable to offer consistent evidence.[134][135] A few months earlier, on 20 May 2013, a charge of common assault on a different woman was dropped after a witness failed to turn up to court.[133]

In April 2015, Sterling was photographed by the Sunday Mirror allegedly smoking a shisha pipe, and by The Sun allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide for recreational purposes. Manager Brendan Rodgers said, "I don't think it is something you should be doing, it's as simple as that...Young players make mistakes. As long as they learn from them, that is what is important."[136]

In June 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire in which 71 people died, Sterling made a "substantial" donation to those affected by the fire.[137]

On 16 December 2017, Sterling was attacked outside Manchester City's training ground by a man who used racist language towards him. Four days later, 29-year-old Karl Anderson, a convicted football hooligan, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault and was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison and a £100 fine.[138] The Guardian praised Sterling's resilience and courage in deciding to play only four hours afterwards.[139]

Sterling has an M16 rifle tattooed on his leg. He received criticism from anti-violence groups but said that the tattoo had deeper meaning and referred to his father who was killed when Sterling was two years old.[140]

The treatment of Sterling by Britain's tabloid media, especially The Sun, has been deemed unfair and racist by pundits including Ian Wright.[141][142][143][144][145][146]

Sponsorship

In 2012, Sterling signed a sponsorship deal with American sportswear and equipment supplier, Nike. He appeared in an advert for the new Nike Green Speed II alongside Mario Götze, Theo Walcott, Eden Hazard, Christian Eriksen and Stephan El Shaarawy in November 2012.[147][148] In January 2013, he modelled the new Nike Mercurial Vapor IX.[149]

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 6 November 2019
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Liverpool 2011–12[150] Premier League 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2012–13[151] Premier League 24 2 1 0 1 0 10[a] 0 36 2
2013–14[152] Premier League 33 9 3 0 2 1 38 10
2014–15[153] Premier League 35 7 5 1 4 3 8[b] 0 52 11
Total 95 18 9 1 7 4 18 0 129 23
Manchester City 2015–16[154] Premier League 31 6 2 1 4 1 10[c] 3 47 11
2016–17[155] Premier League 33 7 5 1 1 0 8[c] 2 47 10
2017–18[156] Premier League 33 18 2 1 3 0 8[c] 4 46 23
2018–19[157] Premier League 34 17 4 3 3 0 10[c] 5 0 0 51 25
2019–20[158] Premier League 10 7 0 0 1 1 4[c] 5 1[d] 1 16 14
Total 141 55 13 6 12 2 40 19 1 1 207 83
Career total 236 73 22 7 19 6 58 19 1 1 336 106
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, two in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ a b c d e Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ Appearance in FA Community Shield

International

As of match played 14 October 2019[159]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
England 2012 1 0
2014 12 0
2015 7 2
2016 9 0
2017 6 0
2018 12 2
2019 8 8
Total 55 12

International goals

As of match played 14 October 2019. England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Sterling goal.[159]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 27 March 2015 Wembley Stadium, London, England 14   Lithuania 3–0 4–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification [116]
2 9 October 2015 Wembley Stadium, London, England 18   Estonia 2–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification [117]
3 15 October 2018 Estadio Benito Villamarín, Seville, Spain 46   Spain 1–0 3–2 2018–19 UEFA Nations League A [160]
4 3–0
5 22 March 2019 Wembley Stadium, London, England 48   Czech Republic 1–0 5–0 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification [121]
6 3–0
7 4–0
8 25 March 2019 Podgorica City Stadium, Podgorica, Montenegro 49   Montenegro 5–1 5–1 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification [161]
9 7 September 2019 Wembley Stadium, London, England 52   Bulgaria 3–0 4–0 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification [162]
10 10 September 2019 St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England 53   Kosovo 1–1 5–3 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification [163]
11 14 October 2019 Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria 55   Bulgaria 4–0 6–0 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification [164]
12 5–0

Honours

References

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External links