The former Liverpool man believes Sterling should focus on improving before thinking about a move.
The England winger has been linked with a move to a number of Europe’s top clubs with his future at Anfield still in doubt and new Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has admitted he admires the youngster, according to BBC Sport.
A move for Sterling seems unlikely at this point however, as they are targeting other areas of the team for improvement, and McManaman, who moved to Spain from Liverpool back in 1999, says he doubts he’s good enough yet anyway.
“Is he good enough to play in a starting 11 for a Madrid, a Barça or a Bayern Munich? I would very much doubt (it),” he said.
“Because your consistency levels need to be extremely high and they have not been [for Sterling] of late. So I think talk of him going to Real would be pie in the sky, to be very honest. I think if he were to leave, it would probably be for an English team.”
It is a valid point from the former Liverpool man, with Sterling having suffered a noticeable dip in form since speculation about his future began to do the rounds.
It is almost a certainty that he would not be guaranteed a starting place at the Bernabeu ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, but he does get regular first-team football at Liverpool.
And McManaman believes Sterling would be better served continuing to learn his trade before exposing himself to the demands he would face at a club like Madrid.
“I think his development is more important than anything,” he added.
“He’s an exceptional talent but he needs to improve. As a 19-year-old, he was the best teenager in Europe. He needs to play football regularly and he needs to keep on improving.”