Friday 15 December 2017

Sterling gets vote of confidence

Raheem Sterling, England, in action against Aiden McGeady, left, and Robbie Brady, Republic of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile
Raheem Sterling, England, in action against Aiden McGeady, left, and Robbie Brady, Republic of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola has no doubts that Raheem Sterling has the ability to produce performances to justify the £49m Manchester City paid Liverpool for his services.

"The problem is recovering confidence when a player has no quality. That is a big problem. Then I cannot help him.

"But Sterling has the quality. He just has to focus on his life, his profession and I'm pretty sure he will play good.

"Last season, expectation was high and, OK, he didn't play regularly and his confidence went down. It's so important to create good body language and after there is the quality. And I think he is a good talent."

Read More: Pep keen to test his philosophy in December chill

Guardiola knows how much criticism Sterling and Joe Hart received over the summer but did not want to dwell on a tournament in which almost every English player struggled.

"I don't worry about the performances in the Euros," he said. "I am encouraged, and I am looking forward to working with Sterling and showing him how good a player he is. And with Hart too."

Guardiola could have been more enthusiastic about the future of the England's number one, given his own known preference for a footballing goalkeeper.

Read More: Klopp signs new six-year Liverpool contract

"At the moment there is no doubt that Hart is number one," Guardiola said. "But we are always looking for the best option to create a better team."

Vincent Kompany might also have cause for concern, with Guardiola declaring: "My dream for Vincent Kompany is to be fit," Guardiola said. "He's a magnificent central defender but he has to be fit."

Guardiola also said that his relationship with Yaya Toure, whom he sold when Barcelona manager, was good, but was less effusive in his talk of helping galvanise him.

Read More: Pep Guardiola backs Raheem Sterling to come good at Manchester City

"I know Yaya from a long time. He did very, very well in Barcelona and here as well. He is a huge star and all the players who are here now come to me. After that, we will see what happens."

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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