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What Gary Neville said about Raheem Sterling and Cristiano Ronaldo on MNF

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Unfortunately for Gary Neville, Manchester City were always going to be the main topic of conversation on tonight's Monday Night Football.

After watching Manchester United fall part against West Brom and City finally declared as champions, Neville tweeted: "Gonna be a long MNF tomorrow ! We are on at 7pm. Don’t tune in!!" 

Amidst all the talk of Pep Guardiola's men, though, Neville decided to focus on Raheem Sterling.

The Englishman has enjoyed a breakthrough season at the Etihad Stadium and has been at his most prolific at the top level. Nevertheless, his lack of a final product on the big stage and a plateau in form recently has left many frustrated.

It's perhaps easy to forget that Sterling is still only 23-years-old.

Neville compared Sterling with a young Ronaldo

As a result, Neville put his integrity and Twitter mentions on the line by staging a comparison between Sterling and Cristiano Ronaldo. Yes, really, and Thierry Henry was even pulled into the situation for good measure.

Neville made the point that, like Sterling, Ronaldo wasn't a composed finisher in his early days at United, wasn't a good set piece taker and often pandered to flashy skills.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

Goal statistics

Of course, Ronaldo then proceeded to put in hours and hours of work to become one of the greatest players in history but can Sterling do the same? Probably not, but hear the man out.

Neville opened: "Raheem Sterling cannot think that this is the end. He's won a title, he's had his best ever season with goals and assists but there is another level."

He then proceeded to compare Sterling's goal statistics by year of age with that of Ronaldo and Henry. Before their 23-year-old birthday, it certainly makes interesting viewing - take a look:

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Sterling needs to put in Ronaldo-like work

"Ronaldo, when he first joined United, wasn't a free-kick taker, he wasn't a corner taker, he wasn't good from a deadball, he wasn't a great 'kicker.' Raheem Sterling, isn't a great 'kicker' of a ball," Neville continued.

"Could he put a corner on the six-yard box, whipped in every time? No. The answer is no.

"Ronaldo couldn't do this at 18, 19, 20 either, it's not a criticism, it's a question of development.

"Can Sterling get to those Ronaldo or Henry levels? That's debatable, because they're two of the great players but that's the challenge.

"If you think about Cristiano in training, in his early years. If he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper in a five-a-side, he'd try to dribble around him, he'd try to chip him, he'd try to nutmeg him.

"Then he started being serious about his work, smashing it past the goalkeeper properly every time.

Manchester United v Everton

"Now Raheem does it take it seriously, I've worked with him, but he needs to make sure he does everything properly and doesn't take chances."

Football fans react

Scarily, amidst all the analysis, he has a point.

Do you think Sterling has the potential to be a world-class player? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Gary Neville
Football
Raheem Sterling

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