Belfast Telegraph

Raheem Sterling: Debt I owe to mentor Brendan Rodgers for shaping career

By Jack de Menezes

Raheem Sterling will forever hold a place in his footballing heart for the former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

After all, as the teen sensation made his way on the green fields of Liverpool's Melwood training ground, it was Rodgers who gave him his chance.

The Jamaican-born youngster went on to play 95 times for the Reds before his much publicised and some would say, ill-advised, £45m move to Manchester City.

It has seldom been plain sailing for the England international, who, on Saturday, was once again greeted by the home fans chanting 'What a waste of money'.

However, having silenced the Swansea faithful with his fourth Premier League goal this season, Sterling is not only beginning to prove his doubters wrong, but finds himself preparing to bite the hand that once fed him.

City travel north on Wednesday to face a Celtic side managed by Rodgers. It is likely to be an uncompromising Champions League examination of the Premier League leaders, who have now won their first 10 league and cup games this season.

For Sterling, however, it promises to be an emotional evening too. "Brendan gave me my chance in the Premier League. He gave me loads of starts and opportunities and lots of confidence. He was massive for me," he said.

"During my time there, he played me in different positions to help me understand those roles.

"It will be good to see him again and I wish him well. But on the day it all comes down to winning the game."

City were decent at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. The returning Sergio Aguero gave them an eighth minute lead and although Fernando Llorente levelled, with a smart volley, eight minutes later, there were second half goals from Aguero (penalty) and Sterling.

It might be 10 straight wins in all football this season and six successive Premier League victories, but Sterling has promised even more from the side who have already been installed as warm favourites to wrestle the title back off last season's unlikely winners Leicester City.

He said: "We have to keep humble and keep working hard. We have to remind ourselves it is only September.

"This is a team that is forever growing and developing.

The team spirit is great both in the dressing room and on the pitch.

"We are fighting for each other and we need to keep that going. We are trying to improve and not relax, that is what the manager is trying to get us to do."

The only slight worry for manager Pep Guardiola is the injury to Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian midfielder limped off in the second half and is due to undergo further tests today.

Swansea have lost four of their six league games this season and the pressure is mounting on manager Franceso Guidolin. Still, this was a much improved performance.


Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, van der Hoorn, Naughton, Britton (Borja, 79 mins), Cork (Ki, 73 mins), Fer, Sigurdsson, Routledge (Barrow, 73 mins), Llorente. Unused subs: Nordfeldt, Mawson, Taylor, Montero.

Man City: Bravo, Sagna (Zabaleta, 78 mins), Sterling, Gundogan (Fernando, 68 mins), Aguero, Kolarov, De Bruyne (Navas, 81 mins), Silva, Stones, Fernandinho, Otamendi. Unused subs: Caballero, Sane, Clichy, Iheanacho.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Man of the match: Sergio Aguero

Match rating: 7/10

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