Ster­ling de­ci­sion ‘nat­u­ral’

Ra­heem says his move away from Liver­pool was al­ways an op­tion

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International Football -

BY MATT MALTBY/ As Ra­heem Ster­ling has opened up on his Liver­pool exit by re­veal­ing for the first time that it was al­ways his plan to as­sess his op­tions if the club strug­gled to win tro­phies.

The 21-year-old winger left the Reds for Manch­ester City at the be­gin­ning of last sea­son in a £49mil­lion (Sh6.14bn) move but was crit­i­cised for the way the trans­fer came about.

Ster­ling then strug­gled to hit the ground run­ning in his de­but sea­son at the Eti­had but is fi­nally show­ing his po­ten­tial un­der Pep Guardi­ola’s guid­ance this term.

And the Eng­land at­tacker has now re­vealed it was de­cided at the age of 15 that he would con­sider leav­ing the An­field out­fit if the move didn’t work out. Speaking to Gary Lineker on BBC’s Pre­mier League show, Ster­ling said: “I’ve never men­tioned this to any­one but I’ll never for­get when me and my agent were on our way to Liver­pool on the train.

At that time I was 15 years old and we were al­ready talk­ing about what we’d like to do af­ter Liver­pool if things didn’t turn out like we wanted.

“I just said well this is a mas­sive club and a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity for me now but I re­mem­ber say­ing to him by the time I’m 22, if I haven’t won any­thing or play­ing in the big­gest com­pe­ti­tions then I need to as­sess my op­tions.

“You want to make sure you’re play­ing at the high­est level. Liver­pool are a great team, I never said that wasn’t the case. But at the time it was a great op­por­tu­nity to come here and work with some of the best play­ers in the world.

“I’m not say­ing there aren’t some great play­ers at Liver­pool be­cause there are but it was for me, my de­vel­op­ment and where I wanted to be. It was about play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League and against the big­gest teams like Barcelona; for me that’s a mas­sive game to be in­volved in.

“I’m very driven. Some­times I don’t say too much be­cause it comes back to bite you as that’s the world we live in to­day. “I have dreams I re­ally want to ful­fill and with the faith I’ve got, I’m look­ing to achieve them.

“I want to win Cham­pi­ons Leagues, Pre­mier Leagues and hope­fully some­thing with my coun­try too.”

“I’ve al­ways loved Liver­pool, it was a great team which helped my de­vel­op­ment. I never had any big is­sues there at all; with the fans or any­thing like that. It didn’t go the way I would have liked but it hap­pened and you have to move on.”

“I have dreams I re­ally want to ful­fill and with the faith I’ve got, I’m look­ing to achieve them.” –RA­HEEM STER­LING

/REUTERS

Manch­ester City’s Ilkay Gun­do­gan cel­e­brates scor­ing his first goal with Ra­heem Ster­ling again Barcelona in their Uefa Cham­pi­ons League Group ‘C ‘ natch at the Eti­had Sta­dium, Manch­ester.

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