Brendan Rodgers has been impressed with Raheem Sterling, who has grown into a man…
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has lavished praise on Raheem Sterling, claiming that the young winger has grown into a man, as the star approaches his 20th birthday.
Reports in the Daily Mirror carry quotes from Rodgers, who has been continually impressed with the England international, who as of Monday will no longer be a teenager.
Sterling has enjoyed an incredible year, and is already closing in on 100 first team games. In 2014, he has also become an established member of the England squad, and attended the World Cup in Brazil.
Rodgers believes Sterling has thrived under the new found responsibility of being one of his club’s most important players, saying: “He has taken on extra responsibility, absolutely, and kicked on.
“I have reiterated to him his qualities and strengths, his pace, skill, his directness – that’s his game. I think you have seen him develop into a very good young footballer. He’s not just someone who can run direct with the ball, he can play one-touch, he can play two-touch.
“He’s such a threat. You looked at him the other night [in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Leicester] against the boy De Laet, who is a super-quick player. Raheem’s pace was frightening. His runs were very good and at 19, nearly 20, I think he’s shown he has gone to an extra level.”
After a run of four straight defeats in a miserable November, Sterling has been at the heart of Liverpool’s recent revival, contributing towards vital victories over both Stoke City and Leicester City.
Rodgers revealed he spoke quietly with Sterling after Liverpool’s defeat to Crystal Palace, and believes that was the point when Sterling took the next step up in his career.
“I spoke to him after, yes. I spoke to a lot of the individuals, and as a group, that our standards needed to improve really. But that was us all,” he added.
“So for him, it’s realising what those standards are and that is for him being direct, being quick, being aggressive, pressing the ball really hard. And in the last two games he’s been good at that.”