Belfast Telegraph

Raheem Sterling in focus

Raheem Sterling awoke to newspaper reports that his next deal at Manchester City could make him the Premier League's highest-paid player.

Press Association Sport tracked his performance against West Ham.

Goal threat

The winger was way off target with an early effort and, with the Hammers sitting incredibly deep for long periods, he found little encouragement to sprint in behind a withdrawn defence. As City surged in the second half he relocated his taste for goal but saw three shots in a row blocked or charged down.

Creativity

The England international showcased a neat selection of flicks and deft touches. There were back heels, one-touch balls off the instep and drag backs to buy him space on the wing. His quick feet and vision were crucial in the build-up to Nicolas Otamendi's equaliser. Looking at his current stockpile of options it is tempting to credit the influence of the endlessly classy David Silva on his younger team-mate.

The late show

Sterling has become City's game-breaker in the closing stages of matches, scoring eight of his 13 goals in the last 15 minutes. He could not add to that here, pushed slightly wider as City paired Gabriel Jesus with Sergio Aguero in the central area, but City indefatigability was on show as they snatched a winner with seven minutes left. Sterling has led the way with later interventions, but he is not the only one.

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