Published: Tue, March 27, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Positive vibes from fans would give England a boost: Sterling

Positive vibes from fans would give England a boost: Sterling

The City flier has toughened up and is much harder to knock off the ball now.

Raheem Sterling also appears to be completely transformed as a player. "He told me to open my body up when I dribble to get momentum rather than dribbling with the outside of my foot. That's mainly where I am now". The 23-year-old won back his place despite Guardiola's pre-season signing of winger Bernardo Silva and has emerged as a key figure in City's charge to the Premier League title.

England could do with some of that.

By contrast he has struck just twice in 36 caps for his country and not since October 2015.

Hang on. Raheem Sterling very almost scored one of the most electrifying goals the nation has ever witnessed when England played Italy at the 2014 World Cup.

The Manchester City forward has never had the smoothest relationship with supporters of the national side, memorably dubbing himself "the hated one" in an Instagram post during Euro 2016.

"Sometimes when you see stuff like I might not be... I would love to hear some positive notes going in, just to make the boys know that everyone's behind them", he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"We're getting closer and closer to the World Cup and everybody is getting very excited saying this England team can go very far, and I hope they do, but from what I've seen so far, I'm not excited and I've got no love".

"With the support we can give in this country, if we do it a lot more I think you will see a lot more of the players coming up, the players who are trying to establish themselves and aren't quite there yet".

"It's obviously disappointing, when you put on the shirt and get negative feedback, but at the same time the fans want to see you perform well".

Sterling joked yesterday that he has been restricted for England because Southgate always takes him off, and he has a tendency to score at the end of games.

He added: "I think it is because the gaffer, Gareth Southgate, takes me off early!" "It's a different environment, but I should be scoring for England".

"I should be scoring a lot more for England", he said.

"I had a rough year, my first year at Man City, a big club for a big transfer fee", said Sterling.

"It is the same with England".

Nicolas Otamendi's ability on the ball has massively improved, Kevin De Bruyne has developed into the most complete central midfielder in the sport and Sergio Aguero has become more of a team-player, adding an element of link-up play to his prolific goal scoring. "And it will be a matter of time".

Raheem Sterling has urged England fans to stop with the "negativity" ahead of the World Cup in Russian Federation this summer. You can see the positions he's taking up, his belief in front of goal - he's scored more goals this week in training than I've ever seen.

"He's telling you to get to the left-back quicker and take the ball with you, instead of controlling it and stopping". "I always had belief in myself that I could turn it around, that I could build and try and get better", he said of the parallel process he has undergone within Southgate's set-up.

Still, he has other qualities.

Manchester City had been held to a goalless draw and Guardiola had been less than impressed by Sterling's impact from the substitutes' bench.

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