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Darren Lewis: We should all celebrate Sterling’s move to City

17 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: We should all celebrate Sterling’s move to City

Sterling's move is good for him, for City and for England. Do people really want him to fail?

IT HAS been brutal, bloody and played out in the court of public opinion.

Now it is over. He has signed the contract, done the (authorised) interviews, held the scarf aloft and posed in his new Blue shirt.

The Raheem Sterling saga is now done and dusted. Finished.

Except – it is fascinating to observe the number of people that now want him to fail.

It is remarkable to witness the lingering bitterness over a transfer that was always going to happen, simply because Liverpool do not have the Champions League football or the finance right now to withstand it.

Granted it will always be a tough sell, trying to elicit sympathy for a young man now set to earn more money in a year at Manchester City than you and I combined will see in a lifetime.

Less so after the carry-on over the last four months.

But Sterling surely now deserves backing, not criticism.

You’d have thought we in this country would be delighted to see an exciting, 20-year-old English player – arguably the best in our national team – scaling the heights with his best years ahead of him.

You’d have thought there would be a recognition that, however bitter the break up may have been, acrimony is bound to become a factor when a player really wants to force a move.

This column wrote last week about the likes of Bale, Ba, Berbatov, Suarez and many others who went through acrimonious splits with their clubs.

Some fans added the likes of Lovren at Southampton, Modric at Spurs while only the other day sources at Stoke confirmed Steven N’zoni refused to go on their pre-season tour in order to force through a move to Sevilla.

England captain Wayne Rooney questioned the ambition of mighty Manchester United during the stand-off over his contract talks. Adam Lallana made it clear to Southampton that once Liverpool came in he wanted to listen.

Once the player leaves or gets the deal he wants, however, you wish them all the best and you move on.

Yet the bile and the bitterness surrounding Sterling’s exit looks unlikely to go away any time soon. So many people appear to want to see him somehow get his come-uppance for turning his back on one of English and European football’s great institutions.

So many people are convinced that he will go to the Etihad and struggle to justify the hype.

We should all be hailing the fact that a young England player’s career trajectory has taken him to a title challenger. To a team where he will be learning from, and improving with, world class players.

Surely that will benefit our national team. At City, if Sterling continues to work in the manner that earned him success at Liverpool, he can be anything he wants to be. We should all be excited by that.

Instead he has been called “overpriced” at £49million, dismissed at not being in the same class as Luis Suarez. Derided for apparently failing to deliver last season as history is hastily rewritten.

During the contract wrangle it was suggested that he would struggle to get into a top four side if he left Anfield.

It has since been suggested that there will be few tears shed for him following his departure.

Last week it was claimed that he was doing Liverpool players a favour by staying away as his “attitude” shouldn’t be anyway near a dressing room.

But that’s the confusing bit. His attitude is that he wants to win things and has a better chance of doing so at City. Some of the very people that have attacked him for expressing that view have themselves suggested Liverpool once again do not look good enough to make the top four.

Sterling has been/is being called greedy, sulky and surly. Yet if your boss repeatedly describes you as ‘the best young player in Europe’, what is wrong with wanting to be remunerated as such?

There has been garbage dredged up (again) about the amount of kids Sterling has, his relationship issues, stuff totally irrelevant to his abilities on the pitch.

Stuff that illustrates just what a brutal business footballers and football clubs operate in. 

Sterling will get little sympathy for the fact that, despite his bright fortunes, this next phase of his career might actually be one of the loneliest he has ever known.

He is the £100million man – and he is English.

The punishing, 24-hour, social media-driven, football spotlight will be even more focused on him than it already was.  

Whatever he does, wherever he goes, Britain’s most expensive footballer will have to mind even more of his p’s and q’s.

He’ll have already reviewed his circle of friends after some of the private material that has made it into the public domain. Stuff that could only have come from people he knows.

Now only the strongest of his allegiances will survive as he makes his inner circle smaller and trusts fewer of the “friends” around him. 

Because he will have to steel himself for the stick he will get if he slips up from here on in. Also if his level dips on the pitch at any point during the season. 

Many, it seems, will take great delight if he finds the going tough when they should be excited that an England star with huge potential has moved to another level. 

Liverpool will survive. They recovered from the losses of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano while the impact of Suarez rendered the defection of Fernando Torres a distant memory (as did the £50million to be fair).

Manchester City too have their sights on other, stellar targets. They intend to correct the kinks in the team that saw them too easy to score against last season despite their firepower up front.

They are still in for Paul Pogba at Juventus and Kevin De Bruyne at Wolfsburg. 

Whoever they sign, however, the focus will be on Sterling. From the moment he pulls on that Blue shirt for the first time in a friendly to his first Premier League appearance in City colours.

An expectant nation will tune in to the Monday Night Football on which he makes his debut at West Brom.

We should all want one of our biggest young English talents to hit the ground running.

Sterling goals against Liverpool next season:

8/11 – 0

Evs – 1

8/1 – 2

16/1 – 3 or more