Football

Brendan Rodgers and Raheem Sterling.

Brendan Rodgers responds to claims he fell out with Raheem Sterling

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Brendan Rodgers is a man familiar with the joy Pep Guardiola must be feeling as Raheem Sterling continues to apart opposition defences.

The former Liverpool boss – who was appointed when the England international was just 17-years-old – had the pleasure of managing him when he as at the peak of powers in a red shirt.

Interest in the winger gathered momentum as he developed into one of the most promising talents in Europe, eventually leading to a contract dispute between him and the club.

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A £44 million move to Manchester City eventually materialised in July 2015, leading to suggestions the saga had damaged the relationship between Rodgers and Sterling.

However, the Celtic manager insists he never fell out with the 21-year-old despite the controversy surrounding the transfer.

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"I never had issues with Raheem,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"Yes, there was that moment where we made a point to him early on, but that was it really. He had a personality but he could accept that and hopefully if you speak to him he would say we had a really close relationship.

"A lot of things that were being said when he left were naughty really.

"There were people trying to create the move, things being instigated that were not right and the final straw was that he had fallen out with the manager.”

Rodgers – whose Celtic team is currently leading the Scottish Premiership – claims he got in touch with Sterling after he agreed his switch to the Etihad.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

“I sent him a big message at the start of this season just to say – ‘Don't forget who you are, don't try to be something that you're not. You're a dynamic player.’ I didn't know we were going to play against City or I'd have told him he'd better not perform against us!”

Having endured a disappointing first season in a City shirt, Sterling has been in imperious form under the guidance of Guardiola.

The winner of the Premier League Player of the Month for August has at last rediscovered the form that made him such a delight to watch during his Liverpool days.

With four goals and three assists to his name in all competitions this season, Sterling is performing at his best again, according to Rodgers.

"He is back to where he was at with me," he added.

"I am not saying that in any other way than his level. He's drifted for the last wee bit of time since he left Liverpool.

"He's back now playing as the player that he is. You can see he's being coached and he's playing to what his strengths are."

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Topics:
Brendan Rodgers
Steven Gerrard
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge
Raheem Sterling
Philippe Coutinho

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