Raheem Sterling is putting himself under a lot of unnecessary pressure ahead of next season.
The talented teenager has started making some big and bold claims about Liverpool and while Brendan Rodgers and the fans should be encouraged by his passion and attitude, he’s playing a very dangerous game.
He’s admitted that he is looking to use Liverpool next season as a way to revitalise his England career when maybe his priorities should be a little closer to home and more in foresight.
“For me at Liverpool, 100 per cent it’s about cementing a starting place in the team, getting a good run of games - If I do that then hopefully I’ll get a pick for the England squad,” said the winger.
Realistic aims but they are based on him getting into the team ahead of several other players who can all play wide roles effectively.
Stewart Downing can play down the left wing and was one of Liverpool’s most important players towards the back end of last season.
He also faces a big threat from Suso and Jordon Ibe in terms of other young players who would jump at the chance to take his first team place, pushing him back down into the Development Squad at the club.
It’s understandable that a player who was dropped towards the back end of last season should make such big and bold statements but there was clear evidence that Sterling was starting to struggle with the pressure before Rodgers dropped him.
He’s since praised the boss for making that decision but it makes it counter productive for him to now put himself under extra pressure but also, he’s made comments which put the rest of the team under extra pressure.
“We just need to get a good start to the next season and hopefully maintain that, and 100 per cent I think we’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top four,” he said.
Again, very good and basic points but he doesn’t have the same level of authority at the club as if Steven Gerrard had made the comments or another more experienced player like Pepe Reina.
Rodgers will be constantly looking for a reaction from him after what happened last season and all of the early indications are positive.
However, the way Rodgers is currently running his Liverpool team means that if Sterling doesn’t back up his bold claims, he’ll be out of the side as quickly as he gets back in.
That will set him back in terms of his England aspirations and his Liverpool ambitions meaning a career delay which instantly becomes even longer to bear.
He had been suffering with injury which is a reason he went into the youth teams rather than straight back in the first team but the fact remains he cannot expect to start in that first team next season.
It takes more than a bit of talk.
What do you make of Sterling’s comments? Is he bringing pressure onto himself and the club?
image: © kong niffe