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Tuesday 24 January 2017

John Giles: Raheem Sterling is right to stand up to disgraceful bully-boy tactics at Liverpool

Published 03/04/2015 | 13:07

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

Top pundit John Giles has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, saying that the young winger is dead right to stand up to Liverpool Football Club.

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Sterling has been in the news all week after Brendan Rodgers revealed the youngster turned down an "incredible" offer from the club.

That sparked Sterling to go on the defensive and he gave an in-depth interview to the BBC insisting that it is not about the money.

And writing in today's Herald, Giles has weighed in on the side of Sterling and has urged him not to be bullied by the club.

"There's only one way to respond to a bully and Raheem Sterling is doing just that by digging in his heels and telling Liverpool football club that he has all the power in his contract negotiation," writes Giles.

While Giles believes Sterling's BBC interview was ill-judged, he insists there is something fundamentally wrong with Liverpool's transfer policy if they can't hold on to their best players.

"There is a roadmap already in place for how to avoid the situation they are currently in. Do the opposite to what they did with Steven Gerrard.

"However, from what Sterling has said, the damage was already done while (John) Henry and the committee were talking to their captain through lawyers instead of doing the decent thing and offering him a deal to stay for another year at the club he helped keep alive over three decades.

"It was worth recalling the progress of Gerrard's decision to leave the club and his comments after he had announced he was going.

"Gerrard claimed that he would have signed a deal last summer if they had offered one. Clearly the club was playing hardball over cash and while that is fair enough, there has to be a different approach to a player of his stature."

Giles was very clear in his thoughts when Brendan Rodgers signed Mario Balotelli and the former Ireland player and manager has reemphasised the fact that the Italian should never have been brought to the club.

"Rodgers also ran into heavy weather when the club signed Mario Balotelli after he stated "categorically" that Liverpool would never sign him and now, he has been further undermined by doing the owners' bidding and heaping pressure on Sterling," added Giles.

"That is the only interpretation I can put on Rodgers recent suggestions that Sterling had turned down "an incredible offer".

"The implication was very straight forward. This is a greedy lad who has been offered a deal which he should be falling over himself to sign but has chosen to take the dark path.

"It was poor form from Rodgers. He knows well that Liverpool got Sterling for a song from QPR and while there are sell-on clauses, they could be dealing with a player who will ultimately net the club a £50m or £60m profit.

"I don't believe Sterling is one bit greedy. If I was dealing with the transfer committee at Anfield I would do exactly as he is doing."

Read John Giles' full column here

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