Raheem Sterling is currently in the form of his life for Manchester City and has been an instrumental figure in Pep Guardiola’s side this season. The 24-year-old has scored 17 league goals so far this term and also has 10 assists to his name.
Sterling just narrowly missed out on the PFA Player of the Year award to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, but the speedy forward has been arguably more important to his team. With 5 goals in his last five games and an outstanding performance in the recent derby win over rivals Manchester United, this really has been Sterling’s best season yet in the Premier League.
It is thanks to his form this season that City remain favourites in the Premier League winner odds on Betfair. The Citizens are bidding to win a second Premier League title in a row and with two games left, they have a point advantage over Liverpool.
What has made Sterling such an important figure in Pep Guardiola’s side is his reliability when called upon. With the vast depth of City’s squad, particularly in attack, he has, at times, faced spells on the bench for City.
Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and RiyadMahrez have all been competing for two places on the wing for City this season, and while Sterling’s form has warranted a starting berth for most matches, there have been times when he has been replaced in the starting line-up.
Whether it’s a starting place or a substitute appearance, Raheem Sterling has proven influential on the pitch and helped City to some important points throughout the season. With just two games to go, he could be the difference between City being crowned champions once again and former club Liverpool winning their first Premier League title.
It’s not just his reliability which has helped Sterling’s presence in the team, but also his attitude. He’s never been one to complain when he’s absent from a squad, presumably because he respects Pep Guardiola’s judgement.
His only complaints have been at the level of racism within football and the lack of action taken against those offenders. In an article for The Times newspaper, Raheem Sterling wrote: “The racism problem in football is so bad, runs so deep and is nowhere near being sorted.”
The England man has been a prominent figure recently in raising awareness and fighting against racist abuse and discrimination from the stands. His treatment by Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge this season has seen the ugly image of racism hit the headlines once again and Sterling is fighting to see it eradicated from the game completely.
It’s clear there needs to be more structures in place and harsher punishments to stop the abuse that players such as Sterling are subject to. As Raheem Sterling himself mentioned, would it not be better to impose a points deduction to clubs whose fans are found guilty of racist abuse? Would fans really participate in such disgraceful acts if it might relegate their team?
This minority of fans are ruining the experience for others and it needs to be eradicated from the game for good. The fact that racism is still prominent in 2019 is shocking, and young fans need to be educated properly so they don’t ever think abusive behaviour is the norm.
Sterling often receives criticism from the mainstream media, but this hasn’t affected his ability on the pitch. In fact, this has often spurred him on to produce better performances. But if it’s not eradicated from football and society, we’ll all lose out.