Raheem Sterling focus
Published 10/08/2015 | 22:18
The most expensive Englishman in footballing history made his competitive debut for Manchester City against West Brom on Monday night.
Here, Press Association Sport assess whether Raheem Sterling began to repay any of his £49million transfer fee in the 3-0 City win at The Hawthorns.
Starting on the left side of City's attack, Sterling had few opportunities to get into the area in the first half but really should have scored when Fernandinho played a first-time pass to set him on his way five minutes before the break. However Sterling looked hesitant and tried to place his shot too close to Boaz Myhill. That was one of only two real sights at goal, with the other a shot straight at Myhill from a tight angle early in the second half, and he was replaced by Samir Nasri with City 3-0 up after 74 minutes.
City's tendency to camp in West Brom's final third and try to patiently break down the defence left little space for Sterling to exploit his pace. He linked up nicely with David Silva a few times but struggled to find a way through the deep-lying defence. He looked like a man still trying to find his exact role in City's evolving attack, although this was far from the finished article all around with Sergio Aguero starting the evening on the bench.
The West Brom crowd booed his every touch in the first half - before switching their attention to referee Mike Dean after the break - but that only encouraged the City fans to get behind their new man.
It was a fairly subdued debut for Sterling, who had one golden chance to crown it with a goal but otherwise operated as no more than a competent cog in a City machine which was operating very nicely indeed in the opening game of the season.