EPL

Manchester City star Sterling deserves all plaudits for improvement – Guardiola

By Sports Desk August 24, 2019

Pep Guardiola appreciates Raheem Sterling's willingness to listen but insists the Manchester City star's development into a world-class player is entirely of his own making.

England international Sterling has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most dangerous attackers under Guardiola's stewardship.

The former Liverpool winger scored 18 and 17 goals in successive title-winning campaigns and boasts four in two appearances this term, including a hat-trick against West Ham on the opening weekend.

Guardiola believes it will be tough for Sterling to beat out-and-out strikers to the Golden Boot but praised his appetite for improvement.

"I think he's a better player, like I said last season. It's all [to] his credit, his desire to be better," Guardiola said.

"I think every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group... he's a guy who is incredibly receptive when we have our talks, when Mikel [Arteta, City first-team coach] speaks with him or myself.

"It's nice, when they don't get that feeling like 'oh, always pushing me or criticising me'.

"He's open. From day one since we arrived. That's why he's becoming an incredible, exceptional player.

"After that his physicality [is excellent], he plays every three days and no injuries. He runs a lot and his genetics are so strong. It's good."

Sterling's injury free run could not contrast more sharply with the difficulties faced by Benjamin Mendy.

The France left-back has suffered two serious knee injuries since joining the club in 2017 but is now back in training and, according to Guardiola, can still realise his potential.

"Yes, if he's fit he'll have success," the City boss said.

"He has a special quality. Right now I'm happy. I don't want to say any big words, but I'm satisfied because for two weeks, the day after training sessions, he feels good.

"He doesn't feel pain and that's good.

"I think he's training well. The people from Barcelona [where Mendy underwent surgery in November] told me he's working incredibly, like an animal. Hopefully he can maintain that because it's not one day, it's not one week. It's every day doing that."

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