Michael Owen explains why Sterling more influential than Hazard, David Silva

The former Anfield striker has been singing the praises of the Liverpool star and says the Merseyside flyer must start for England this summer.

Raheem Sterling’s transformation in the second half of the season has been nothing short of phenomenal, with the young Englishman playing a key role in Liverpool’s title challenge.

With the World Cup less than 50 days away, the Anfield youngster looks set to have a chance to replicate his club form for England in Brazil this summer.

Michael Owen is the latest high-profile member of the footballing fraternity to lavish praise on Sterling.

The retired forward has stated that the Reds wideman must start for the Three Lions this summer and is already guaranteed a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad.

"He's definitely going to get into the squad; it's a question of whether he's in the starting XI or not," the former Real Madrid and Newcastle striker told Liverpoolfc.com.

"In a World Cup, in any game of football, you need players up front that have got pace. If you haven't got pace anywhere in your team, then you have to have some outstanding talent - passers of the ball, movement and guile.

"If you've just got raw pace, it opens up so many more avenues. He has developed into an outstanding player this season. He had time to find his feet, and now he's found them and he's one of the key players in the title push this year."

Owen went on to state that he rates the Liverpool man as having had a better campaign than Eden Hazard or David Silva – high praise indeed.

"I actually put him in my team of the year ahead of the likes of [Eden] Hazard and [David] Silva at Manchester City, and other players like that. That's how highly I rate him,” Owen continued.

"Pace is so important; if you've got a football brain to go along with that pace, it's a lethal combination. He has consistently played well."

Brendan Rodgers has played Sterling in a number of different roles, with the youngster thriving in a central position of late.

He has also popped up with a number of important goals that have added to the Reds’ title charge.

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