Keeper backs $ 107m player

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MATT WIND­LEY

MANCH­ESTER City goal­keeper Joe Hart says Ra­heem Ster­ling’s mam­moth price tag is just a part of the “busi­ness” of football and in­sists his fel­low Eng­land in­ter­na­tional should not feel any awk­ward­ness about his ar­rival at the club.

Af­ter mak­ing a highly pub­li­cised switch from Liver­pool last week, Ster­ling is a chance to make his club de­but in tonight’s In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup clash with AS Roma on an MCG pitch that con­tin­ues to come un­der fire.

The sur­face, al­ready crit­i­cised by Real Madrid boss Rafa Ben­itez last week, caused last night’s Roma and City train­ing ses­sions – for which fans could buy tick­ets – to be moved to Lakeside Sta­dium and AAMI Park re­spec­tively.

Tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers said the move was made in or­der to “pro­tect the in­tegrity of the MCG pitch” for the re­main­ing ICC matches.

The $ 107 mil­lion trans­fer fee paid to Liver -pool for Ster­ling ( right) was the most Man City has ever paid for a player.

“I don’t think there’s any awk­ward­ness,” Hart said. “We ap­pre­ci­ate that to buy Ra­heem you have to spend a lot of money, we all ac­cept that, we’ve all played against him and know what a player he is.

“We all know how the busi­ness goes, you can’t sneak­ily go and buy Ra­heem Ster­ling for $ 5 mil­lion, it’s just not go­ing to hap­pen.

“The price tag is the busi­ness side of things and that’s taken care of by the chief ex­ecs and the chair­man and Ra­heem’s agent.”

Af­ter the de­par­tures of Frank Lam­pard and James Mil­ner, City has re- es­tab­lished its English band of broth­ers with the sign­ings of Ster­ling and for­mer As­ton Villa cap­tain Fabian Delph.

Know­ing the duo as he does from the Eng­land camp, Hart said he was keen to take them un­der his wing at City.

“I’ve been here a long time now and I’m proud with what I’ve done hav­ing been part of the team for that time,” he said. “There’s a few of us that kind of take it upon our­selves to welcome them to the club.”

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