In the midst of turmoil and divide within the country, whether it’s deal or no deal, remain or leave, there is only one thing that can unite the nation at this moment – the success of the national football team. At the forefront of unity and victory, Raheem Sterling has emerged as the pride of the Three Lions. Regardless of the of the outcome of Brexit, Raheem Sterling’s stock has only risen.
Following his breakthrough at 17 for Liverpool, the now 24-year-old Manchester City star is illustrating his outstanding potential. The talent of Raheem Sterling could be seen by all very early on his career as he made Engalnd’s World Cup squad in 2014 before signing for City in 2015 courtesy of a £50 million deal.
Though Sterling’s technical ability and talent was undeniable, the City star was not without room for improvement in terms of his all round footballing game. At times the decision making within the final third and finishing of Sterling could come under scrutiny, and understandably so. When going through on goal, one could be forgiven for expecting a miss or save more so than a goal.
However, since the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Raheem Sterling has only harnessed his talent and ability, going from strength to strength. Over the last two years, the England international has gone from a talented youngster to an undroppable superstar for the most competitive attack in world football right now.
Last season was undoubtedly the best for Raheem Sterling. Domestically, Manchester City won the League Cup before making history by winning the Premier League after gaining 100 points, breaking every other Premier League record on their way to doing so with Sterling playing an integral part to their success.
From an international perspective, from Russia with love came a glorious World Cup campaign for England, reaching the semi-final of the tournament for the first time in 28 years had the nation singing Three Lions and happy again. As he did with his club, Sterling was crucial to this campaign. Though there were harsh critics for his lack of goals at the tournament, Sterling was so important to the way that England played, stretching each opponent and getting in behind time after time.
The performances of Sterling for England went beyond the World Cup. After scoring two fantastic goals against Spain in the Nations League, Sterling’s first international goals since 2015, England secured a 3-2 victory before inflicting revenge on Croatia at Wembley. The first ever Nations League semi-final now awaits England in June – with Sterling likely to be the first name on the team sheet.
Fast forward to the international fixture this Friday just past and Sterling netted his first international hat-trick in 5-0 over Czech Republic at Wembley. Unfortunately, the focus of the international break goes to the Three Lions away fixture in Montenegro. Despite a 5-1 win that makes England the best team of the qualifiers after two games, the talk surrounds the abhorrent behaviour from a section of Montenegro fans.
Racist abuse was heard throughout, directed at Danny Rose, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Raheem Sterling. In the face of these disgusting chants, Raheem Sterling reacted in the best possible way to conditions no one should subjected to, especially on a football pitch. After setting up Ross Barkley and Harry Kane, Sterling scored the final goal of the evening and made certain he could here the silenced crowd as he cupped his ears.
Horridly, it’s not the first time this season that Sterling has been subjected to racial abuse with the City star enduring slurs against Chelsea in December. As a result, in a groundbreaking moment, Sterling took to Instagram illustrate how the media play a huge part in discrimination.
By opening up, Sterling paved the way for many other footballers that have suffered racist abuse, such as Danny Rose and even England centurion Ashley Cole on Sky’s Monday Night Football, to come forward and speak about their own experiences, the impact the media has in regards to racism and prejudice. On top of that, Sterling’s defiant stance has also generated much mainstream media attention resulting in the talk of change across social media, television and radio.
Following the match against Montenegro, Sterling had a lot to say on the subject once again; both on social media and in television interviews as a result of the most recent racism incident in football.
Since the start of the season, not only has Sterling solidified himself as one of the best players in the world right now, but also as a role model and figurehead for the stance against racism and for equality. Raheem Sterling has showed his colours to be golden, on and off the pitch.
In my opinion, the man should be made the face of anti-racism campaigns both in and out of football as it’s an issue that sadly still exists within our own society and needs serious tackling.