I entered the ‘dangers of too much too young’ into Google hoping to find a direction to take this piece. I didn’t have to look too far find it. The very first search result involved the subject of the article; Raheem Sterling.
Sterling is fast becoming a pariah among the Liverpool supporters due to his refusal to commit himself to a new contract at Anfield.
The controversy caused by the whole sorry debacle has left a dark cloud hanging over the club, in the process creating a pretty caustic atmosphere among all the protagonists in this still thickening plot.
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Yet despite the hubris, is Raheem Sterling really worth all the hassle? Although an excellent young talent, he isn’t even the best player at Liverpool.
He may not even be the second or third either. Still, Brendan Rodgers, publicly at least, remains stoical in his stance that Liverpool is the best place for Sterling to progress.
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Apparently the player himself - and certainly his ‘representatives’ - do not subscribe to the same opinion. Nor do ever increasing sections of the supporters, the general mood of the fans being that Sterling leaving Liverpool won’t exactly be a harbinger of the apocalypse. ‘Let him go’, they say, ‘His head’s been turned’.
There is no doubt that is what’s happened. Sterling has fallen prey to the rapacity of his representatives who care far less for his career progression than they do their own paycheques. Premier League players, especially young British ones, are valuable commodities and Sterling’s agent clearly wants to hawk his client to the highest bidder.
Too much too young is exactly the ticket they are chasing for the 19-year-old Sterling, who still has two years left on his current contract with Liverpool.
The timing of the whole saga reveals Sterling’s representative’s intentions in perfect clarity. They want to create a situation where Sterling’s position at Liverpool becomes untenable so they can force through a move in the next transfer window.
With two years left on his contract, Sterling’s advisors knows that any interested clubs will still have to pay top dollar to secure his services, which in turns means they will be paid at a premium for facilitating any sale.
The truth is though, Sterling is a rough diamond that needs more polishing before he is ready to shine in the starting 11 of the truly top clubs in world football.
His advisors probably know this, but driven by self-interest and greed, they don’t really care. They want the highest possible price and they know they have to look elsewhere than Liverpool to find the pot of the god at the end of the rainbow. If that means Sterling rotting in the reserves of a Real Madrid or Man City then so be it.
However, in their rapacious pursuit of profit Sterling’s advisors may have neglected to consider any potential pitfalls of their cunning plan. What if their high risk strategy backfires? If Liverpool stand firm and don’t allow them to engineer an escape route from Anfield for Sterling in the summer, his advisors will be left with a seriously disillusioned player who will be the pariah of the Liverpool support.
Not exactly the ideal conditions for Sterling to concentrate on putting in the sort of performances that impress enough to earn a big money move to football’s elite clubs. What if Sterling is relinquished to the reserves at Liverpool? Or worse still, loses form or suffers a serious injury. His army of admirers would soon turn to a mirage.
Sterling will become fabulously wealthy for a kicking a football whatever happens. But too much too young could seriously affect his long term career and he should resist the temptations to seek pastures new until he is truly ready to prosper at a top club.
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