EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool fan Bayo Akinfenwa on Raheem Sterling's value

Raheem Sterling

Adebayo Akinfenwa knows what it takes to be a centre-forward and he believes Raheem Sterling could tread a similar path to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Adebayo Akinfenwa

Adebayo Akinfenwa knows what it takes to be a centre-forward, with the AFC Wimbledon frontman a handful for Liverpool’s defenders in Monday’s FA Cup third round clash.

His goal was not enough to secure a replay at Anfield, with Steven Gerrard’s deadly double sending the Reds through 2-1.

Akinfenwa will be disappointed not to get another shot at the club he has supported since he was a boy, but he will remain an interested spectator for the remainder of the campaign.

Among those he will be looking forward to seeing in action is Raheem Sterling, with the England man playing no part at Kingsmeadow.

He has been used in a striking role of late, in the absence of Daniel Sturridge and with Mario Balotelli struggling for form, and has impressed since stepping inside off the flanks.

Akinfenwa believes the 20-year-old is capable of operating down the middle on a long-term basis and feels a man yet to commit to a new contract could tread a similar path to former Manchester United forward and Real Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo.

Akinfenwa, who enjoys cult status among football fans as the strongest player in EA SPORTS FIFA 15, told HITC Sport: “The kid’s got everything - he can go wide, he can go up front. You can’t really defend against pace and he’s got that in abundance. I think he can play up top, he can play out wide, and that’s what all good players can do.

“Ronaldo wouldn’t say that he is an out-and-out centre-forward but showed from being a winger that he can play up front.

“When you have got players of that calibre and ability, they can adapt. That’s what great players do and he’s potentially on that level and will get better and better.”

Rodgers reported on Thursday that there has been no progress in discussions with Sterling regarding fresh terms.

Liverpool’s inability to get him to put pen to paper has reignited talk that he could soon be on his way out of the club.

Real Madrid have been credited with holding an interest, but the Reds and everyone connected with them – Akinfenwa included – will be hoping that a distracting saga can be put to bed in the not too distant future and that an exciting talent will agree to remain on Merseyside.

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