Raheem Sterling has been the victim of much abuse since joining Manchester City from Liverpool, and there are concerns in the England camp that his confidence has been severely damaged by all the attacks directed at him.
Enter Pep Guardiola. The Catalan coach is a famous motivator, famous for his ability to win the hearts and minds of players. And according to tomorrow’s newspapers, Pep has been in contact with Raheem and given him a true ‘pep talk’.
When speaking to Sterling after England’s 2-1 win over Wales at Euro 2016, Guardiola is reported to have said to the 21-year-old, “As long as you work for me, I’ll fight for you. Keep your head up, don’t worry, I know you’re a good player and you’re a big part of my plans.”
Henry Winter writes in The Times that Guardiola played an instrumental part in the signings of Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne last summer, proof, if true, that the 45-year-old has been in the bag for a long time now.
Pep’s telephone call to Sterling will surely lift his mood and confidence, which has been damaged by unpleasant attacks on social media and in stadiums. Next season could be a pivotal one for Raheem Sterling under the tutelage of City’s new boss.