Incoming Manchester City manager has words of encouragement for Sterling

England's Raheem Sterling in action with Wales' Joe Allen

Raheem Sterling has been in poor form for club and country over the past few months.

England's Raheem Sterling in action Raheem Sterling has been criticised for his performances for England

The Guardian are reporting that incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made a telephone call to Raheem Sterling to offer him his support while the former Liverpool star is going through a tough time in France.

Sterling started the opening two group games for England, but found himself the target of heavy criticism from fans and pundits alike who questioned Roy Hodgson's reasoning for Sterling's inclusion in not only the starting line-up but the squad in general.

England head coach Roy Hodgson, James Milner, Fraser Forster and Raheem Sterling look on from the substitutes benchSterling is England's only real winger, but Hodgson seems to have lost patience with the Man City star

The newspaper claim that is was Guardiola himself who sanctioned Sterling's £50 million move to the Eitahad, even though he was in charge of Bayern Munich at the time. The 21-year-old is obviously held in high regard by the Spaniard, and he is quoted by The Guardian as saying:

“As long as you work for me, I’ll fight for you. Keep your head up, don’t worry, I know you’re a good player and you are a big part of my plans.”

Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola Pep Guardiola has offered Sterling his support

The supportive words from Guardiola must have been reassuring for Sterling, but his chances of first-team opportunities at City will depend heavily on his own attitude and form. His inconsistent displays last term were symbolic of City's troublesome league campaign. He managed just six goals and two assists in 31 Premier League outings, and for someone carrying such a hefty price-tag, Guardiola will expect that output to vastly improve if he is to feature on a regular basis.

The Spaniard is notorious for expecting nothing less than perfection, so although his words of support for Sterling will be a nice boost for the youngster, the hard work for him in justifying his price-tag will really begin now.

England's Raheem Sterling in action with Russia's Aleksandr KokorinSterling has a lot of work to do in order to prove himself to the City fans

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