At 19-years-old, Raheem Sterling has the world at his feet. With a new £100,000-a-week contract in the offing and interest from the biggest club in the world, what could possibly go wrong for the youngster?
Don't get me wrong, from my initial assessments Sterling is one of the brightest prospects in English football; he is quick, strong on the ball and can certainly finish. However I can't fail to notice how the general opinion of him has changed so quickly within a year.
This time last season Sterling was compounded to the Liverpool bench and whenever he did get any action it was as a makeshift wing-back. He struggled to make an impression in the Liverpool team prior to Christmas time and rightfully got his chance with England again.
I was one of those sceptical about the high praise he received during the World Cup, I felt he was as substandard as the rest of the squad, despite the fact that he was widely lauded for his performances.
Reading in the newspaper about interest from Real Madrid for Sterling afforded me two thoughts. First of all, I felt that the story was most likely to be made up, as Sterling is not the first young English talent to be linked with a move to the Spanish capital.
Secondly, I couldn't help but thinking that yet again the English media is fast tracking a young prospect to international stardom within just a matter of months. This has got to have an unhealthy affect on a player so young and the whole business of Sterling being, 'too tired' for England duty is farcical. Could it be a by-product of his new found stardom?
All I hope is that Sterling is afforded time for both Liverpool and England and he is able to develop into a top, top quality player along with England's other prospects such as Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw.
Although it's possible I hope he doesn't follow the path of wasted talents such as Wayne Rooney, who, despite being a good Premier League player has failed to reach the upper echelons of world football as many had hoped he would do.
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