Don't devalue Sterling for knowing what he is worth
Liverpool star has duty to himself to maximise earning potential - even if he is just 20 years old
Greedy. Money-grabbing. Selfish. Disloyal. Just some of the slurs I've seen thrown at Raheem Sterling in the last week. It seems Liverpool fans are not happy their player is holding out for the best possible deal.
The last one is my favourite. "Disloyal".
Was the boy they signed disloyal to Queens Park Rangers when they nabbed him as a 15-year-old? I somehow doubt they were as bothered about his "loyalty" back then. I've never understood why the fans and media expect more from a footballer than someone working in any other walk of life.
As an Aston Villa fan, I've been through it many times.
John Gregory famously declared if he'd "had a gun, (he) would have shot him" after Dwight Yorke joined Manchester United, where he won the Treble that season.
Ashley Young gets booed every time he returns to Villa despite single-handedly keeping them in the Premier League the year before he also left for Manchester United.
The Villa fans, the Liverpool fans, and everyone else, expect a loyalty from players the club would never show to them if they weren't so valuable.
If things didn't go Sterling's way, and he didn't develop into the player he's become, but put in the same level of drive, determination and commitment to make it, would there be the same column inches accompanying Liverpool's inevitable decision to put him on the scrapheap?
For some reason, football is a business where the press and fans take the side of the establishment over the workers, the players who make the game what it is.
The Premier League has never been richer. Maybe the money certain players earn does seem obscene to some of us, but why shouldn't they get their fair share?
It's a short career. Raheem Sterling has a duty to himself to maximise his earnings and potential. He has over two years left on his current deal; yet because he won't jump into a decision which could define the prime of his career, he is vilified.
The club want to lock him down now, because they know his potential. They know he will become unaffordable. Shame on him for knowing the same.
On a disastrous day for the team last weekend, he was Liverpool's best player. It's been the case most weeks this season.
Liverpool fans have no right to demand more from him than what he was signed to do, for the period he was asked to do it.