Monday 26 September 2016

Sterling excited by City challenge

Published 14/07/2015 | 17:26

Raheem Sterling is now a Manchester City player
Raheem Sterling is now a Manchester City player

Raheem Sterling believes the most exciting aspect of his record-breaking transfer to Manchester City is being able to play alongside so many world class players.

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The 20-year-old England international became British football's most expensive player on Tuesday when he signed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium to complete a move from Liverpool which will be worth up to £49million.

"It's a good feeling and this is really happy time for me and my family," Sterling told the club's official website, www.mcfc.co.uk.

"I'm just glad it's all over and done with and I can't wait to get on the training field.

"The thing that excites me the most is the world class squad we have and knowing we have a team that is capable of winning things year in, year out.

"The more quality players that are around you, the more quality it brings out in you so I can't wait to get started and play alongside them."

Sterling, who will wear the No.7 shirt worn in the past by City favourites such as Mike Summerbee, Georgi Kinkladze, Stephen Ireland and James Milner, was also grateful to his previous managers despite his protracted exit from Anfield.

"It has been a long journey from QPR and I'd like to thank a few people who have helped me along the way," he said.

"I'd like to thank Rafa Benitez for taking me to Liverpool as a 15 year-old - that was a massive step for me and a new challenge.

"Also to Kenny Dalglish for showing such faith in me and putting me in at such a young age.

"I want to thank Brendan Rodgers for giving me a chance and an opportunity in the first team, giving me my full debut - against City funnily enough - and giving me a real chance to cement a place in the first team and show the world my talents.

"Finally, I'd also like to thank all the people around me - my mum and sisters, my management team and (agent) Aidy Ward for helping me focus and get where I am today. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone."

Sterling passed a medical and completed the remaining formalities of the deal on Tuesday and he will fly out to meet up with his new team-mates in Australia within the next 24 hours.

He is City's record signing, surpassing the sums previously paid for Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, after drawn out talks with Liverpool. City had two previous bids rejected before finally reaching a deal.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted to finally get his hands on the player after that prolonged pursuit.

He said: "Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football and I am very much looking forward to him joining our squad out in Australia later this week.

"He is a young player with outstanding ability and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team."

City's interest in Sterling had been an open secret for some time, but the Reds were desperate to retain his services as they braced themselves for an approach.

However, they were fighting a losing battle from the moment he told Rodgers he wanted to leave following his return for pre-season training, and his request not to be included in the party for the club's pre-season trip to Australia and the Far East sparked claims of a bust-up, something the Jamaica-born forward's camp has strenuously denied.

Sterling began his career at QPR and joined the Reds for an initial fee of £600,000 as a 15-year-old in 2010.

He was handed a senior debut as a 17-year-old and was twice named the club's young Player of the year.

He will now face the prospect of competing with the likes of Aguero, Wilfried Bony, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and David Silva at the spearhead of a City side which finished a distant second to Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea last season.

Press Association

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