Pep Guardiola’s impact on Manchester City is plain to see and no one player epitomises his fine work more than Raheem Sterling, a star reborn under the Spaniard.
It was only a few months ago that Sterling’s Euro 2016 form came under intense scrutiny, but if the England forward was lacking for confidence then, self-assurance drips from every pore now.
Heading into October, City’s £49m signing looks every inch the “£50m player” they were supposedly signing from Liverpool last summer.
Guardiola’s decision to herald the 21-year-old from the moment he was officially unveiled at the Etihad has proved inspired, with Sterling a fixture in his attack and playing out of his skin.
The diminutive wideman has chimed in with five goals in his first 10 appearances under the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona gaffer, including three in as many appearances after coolly slotting home against Celtic in Europe last time out.
This tweet from BT Sport pundit Gary Lineker summed up the City winger’s performance at Parkhead perfectly.
Sterling has been ridiculously good.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 28, 2016
If such pulsating form can be sustained, especially with this newfound composure in front of the onion bag, Sterling has to be in the frame for 2016/17’s individual gongs.
We go 14/1 that the Three Lions star wins the ‘16/17 PFA Player of the Year award and 9/2 that he scoops the Young Player of the Year, an accolade he has already been shortlisted for twice.
In the context of Manchester City’s rise over the past five seasons, culminating in two Premier League titles to date, it seems somewhat surprising that no player from the club has managed to walk away with either of the PFA’s most distinguished individual prizes.
Given the way City are wowing audiences with their football so far this term, this imbalance looks like being righted this season, quite possibly by the electric Sterling.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing