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World Cup 2018

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Sterling's desire to improve behind his red-hot form, says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola believes Raheem Sterling is reaping the rewards of hard work and a fearless attitude.

Sterling has been one of the star figures of Manchester City's flying start to the season and is their leading goalscorer this term with 10 strikes to his name.

This increased goal threat has particularly caught the eye, with the 22-year-old having never previously scored more than 11 in a campaign.

City manager Guardiola said: "I think he's enjoying scoring goals. He's not scared, he's not afraid to take a risk. Now he's seeing how fun, how good it is to score goals. Now he's more focused on that.

"Mikel Arteta (coach) is working many, many hours and days after training specifically about the last action on the pitch - that control in the last moment to make the right movement in the final three or four metres. Raheem has wanted to stay there to improve, to practise, to shoot at the goalkeepers. It's part of the mentality he needs.

"He knows a striker has to score goals and he has to do that if he wants to achieve the next step. You won't survive in the high-level teams in his position if you don't score goals."

Sterling's name was mentioned as a possible makeweight in a possible deal to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in the summer. That was dismissed out of hand by City, with Guardiola backing the England international to play a key role in his side.

Guardiola believes there is still plenty more improvement to come from the former Liverpool player.

He said: "His final pass still has to improve - he has to do it better. He has got better, but he can still do better.

"We can't forget he's 22 years old and we demand a lot with those kind of players, but he is curious and if he improves he will get it, for sure, because he's young, has time and we are there to help him."

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