Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has written an in-depth article in the Daily Mail giving his opinion on why Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is struggling at the moment.
The former England international defender believes that having started out at a tender age as a professional footballer has played a big part in his recent dip in form.
Carragher goes on to explain that being heaped up with expectations both at United and England has made it ‘mentally and physically draining’ for the 28-year-old, while pointing out that Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler peaked earlier than players normally should because, like Rooney, they burst onto the scene at a very early age.
In one paragraph, the 36-year-old warns that similar pressure on Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling could have the same effect.
‘Maybe that needs to be considered with Raheem Sterling’, wrote Carragher. ‘He is in the position Wayne and Michael were in - the rising young star of English football - but it’s important he is protected and not flogged by club and country in the next few years’.
Sterling enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2013-14 in which he was one of the key players for Liverpool in their second-place finish in the Premier League.
The 19-year-old winger’s pace, skills and fearlessness on the pitch were marvels to behold, with Reds manager Brendan Rodgers even describing him as ‘the best young player in European football’ (click here to read more).
The teenager had a decent 2014 World Cup campaign with England in Brazil on a personal level earlier this summer and has looked impressive for Liverpool at the start of the 2014-15 Premier League season.
However, pressure is building on Sterling already and hype is increasing. Comparisons are being made between him and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when they were 19. There are many who are claiming that the Liverpool youngster could become the ‘next Wayne Rooney’ and could lead England to international glory.
Perhaps it is time for everyone to heed Carragher’s warning.