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Raheem Sterling analysis: How he became Gareth Southgate’s go-to guy

| 30.06.2021

Raheem Sterling analysis

Raheem Sterling has been England’s player of Euro 2020 so far with three goals in four matches, including the all-important opener in their last-16 win over Germany.

The Manchester City forward has scored 15 times in his last 20 international appearances and is 13/2 in the Euro 2020 top goalscorer odds.

In our Raheem Sterling analysis, we look at how he has become manager Gareth Southgate’s most effective player.

Southgate’s unstinting faith

While Sterling has endured an uncertain time at club level over the last six to 12 months, being left out of key games, there has been no such issue with the national team.

Southgate has been fully invested in Sterling since before the 2018 World Cup and continued to pick him even amid the clamour for him to dropped after 26 matches without a goal.

That trust is now bearing fruit.

Southgate told the BBC after the Germany win: “Raheem has to prove people wrong all the time and Raheem has been immense for us over three, four years.

“He knows we’ve got faith in him, we’ve got that trust in him and his performances have been electric, right from the start.”

A clearly-defined role

Sterling has cemented the left-sided position in a front three and knows how to operate effectively from there, having flourished doing it in the early years of Pep Guardiola’s City reign.

In subsequent seasons, the City boss has asked Sterling to perform different roles and develop his game and, consequently, that has lessened his overall efficacy.

For England he has a more specific, less expansive, job to do and that allows him to focus on what he does best, coming in off the left.

Greater sense of personal responsibility

Sterling, now 26, has grown as a player and person over the last couple of years, with his work on racial equality in sport earning him an MBE and a place as one of the 100 most influential black Britons in 2020 and 2021.

Despite his age, he is considered one of the senior members of the squad and provides leadership by example, while at his club he is surrounded by an array of world-class stars.

As we conclude our Raheem Sterling analysis, the likes of England team-mates Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have cited Sterling as a role model within the England camp.

After beating Germany, Sterling said: “We knew we need to put in a very good performance against a very good side and I thought we did that.

“Doing it for your country is always special and it’s definitely a special moment. I wondered if it (my goal) was offside but I was very happy it went in.

“We knew the intensity we can play at and not many teams can deal with it. The two boys in midfield, Declan (Rice) and (Kalvin) Phillips, they were class, they ate up ground. An all-round great team performance.

“We’ll take it game by game. We’ll go away and recover and get focused on the next one.”

View the latest Euro 2020 odds

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Stuart Walker