Raheem Sterling – Boy Wonder

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Image from www1.skysports.com

A Jamaican-born English winger ripping down the flanks at Anfield, causing nightmares for opponents with his pace and trickery – you’d forgive Liverpool fans for thinking they were witnessing the second coming of Kop legend John Barnes.

But that’s just how good Raheem Sterling has looked. The young winger, still not quite 18-years-old, has had a breakthrough season for Liverpool, impressing all of England with his sparkling displays supporting Luis Suarez from the wing.

He joined the Reds at the age of 15 when they secured his signature and he left QPR for Anfield in 2010 and since then he has impressed at every level.

Last season Sterling smashed five goals in a FA Cup youth match against Southend United, and game and game again proved to be well above his age group despite being one of the youngest players on the field.

This year, Brendan Rodgers gave Sterling a massive opportunity when he selected him in the starting lineup against Manchester City at Anfield, and the youngster took his chance and ran with it.

Sterling has since proving himself to be unstoppable, scoring once and providing four assists for Liverpool while putting in promising performances week after week.

His potential has not gone unnoticed on the world stage either; Roy Hodgson handed Sterling his England debut with a starting appearance in England’s 4-2 defeat to Sweden.

Despite the loss, Sterling impressed yet again as he played a part in both England goals – he sent the through ball for Ashley Young prior to the cross to Welbeck as well as winning the free kick that Gerrard sent onto Caulker’s head for England’s second goal.

Sterling looks to be one of the game’s brightest prospects, seamlessly fitting into the Premier League while being the youngest player to be consistently starting.

Despite this though, a shadow of doubt hangs over Anfield.

His ability is undeniable, but Sterling and Liverpool have, reportedly at least, been locked in contract negotiations that the Reds will not want to lose.

Although he’s only eligible to sign the contract on his 18th birthday, which he’s tweeted is his intention, rumours have began to surface about the two parties failing to reach common ground.

Sterling (or his agent) is reported to want more money than Liverpool are willing to give a youngster, no matter how talented.

But Liverpool will know how important it is to resolve talks with Sterling. Despite being in his first season with the senior squad he has proved that he is not only worthy of a spot but worthy of a decent contract as well.

It will be important that Sterling stays grounded – his stardom and pending contract boost could affect the youngster’s mindset if he’s not careful.

But he’s always proven to be driven, and Liverpool will be confident that Sterling is not a false dawn.

Potential is always hard to judge and even harder to quantify, but if he remains on this trajectory, Raheem Sterling has a long career of dazzling Premier League defenders ahead.

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