Daniel Sturridge has told critics to lay off England winger Raheem Sterling and, instead, help him become of the world’s best players.
Sterling has endured a tough first season at Manchester City, following a controversial £49million move from Liverpool last summer, and he’s looked poor for the Three Lions at Euro 2016 too as he suffers a crisis of confidence.
But his former Reds team-mate has revealed he’s been advising the youngster through this tough time and insisted fans must back the winger and aid him in his quest to find his form in France.
Sturridge told talkSPORT: “Raheem [Sterling] is one of the strongest [people I know]. He’s got thick skin in terms of how he is as a person. He doesn’t worry too much what people say. Those are the things I’ve had to speak to him about as well. He’s got to worry about his game and that’s it. And that’s all that he ever does. He works so hard on the training field.
“He’s one of the most talented young players in the world. I don’t think people realise he’s 21-years-old.
“We look around the world and at players playing for so many different countries and I don’t think you can name me many players who are 21-years-old who have done as many things and played as many games in the first-team at this level as Raheem Sterling has – and he’s an English player.
“We have to groom him. We have to nurture him and we have to help him become one of the best players in the world. I believe one day he will become one of the best players in the world because he has all the tools to do that and I told him that today.
“Confidence is this thing you have to overcome at times because you go through different phases in your life and your career. He’s young, he’s 21-years-old. You’re not a grown man at 21-years-old. People have to understand he’s one of the most talented players in the world, not just the country. Let him continue and he will come good and that’s a fact because he has the abilities.
“For me, he is a brother of mine and I feel it’s been a bit harsh in terms of the criticism he’s received. He’s 21, he’s performed at the highest level for the last few years but also in the games he’s played for England he actually hasn’t performed as badly as people have made out, he’s done quite well, to be fair.
“It’s important for people to understand, he will come good and he will show people what he’s about. I’m sure of that and it will put a smile on his face.”