Raheem Sterling has been nothing short of scintillating in the past two months. He looked impressive in Liverpool's North American tour in the preseason, but no one thought he was quite up to the task of starting in the Premier League.
The youngster made his first EPL start against Manchester City in the second game of the season. It became apparent all too quickly that he was indeed the man for the job, and play like a man he did.
The 17-year-old was given a monstrous task in taking on Kolo Toure, who was visibly much bigger and stronger than himself.
Sterling played admirably and by game's end, he had Kolo on skates. All the City defender could do to prevent Sterling from getting by was to outmuscle and foul him.
Since then the speedy England international has taken the league by storm, and defenses have yet to find an answer for him.
He's everything Brendan Rodgers could want in a winger and hasn't showed any reluctance to do whatever needs to be done on the pitch.
In the past two months, Sterling has certainly lived up to his surname, but he has the skills and potential to be golden. Here are some of his attributes:
Already playing at an incredibly high level, Sterling has many more years to offer the Reds, barring injury.
At only 17 years of age, the youngster still has a bit of maturing to do, both physically and mentally, but if he remains healthy, there's no reason why he can't dominate on the wings for at least another decade.
2. High Ceiling
With the gift of youth comes untapped potential. Sterling is already putting world-class defenders to shame. It's almost scary to imagine what he might become if he keeps his mind right.
It really is a case of the sky's the limit with this one. Even if he has peaked so early on and plays like he is currently for years to come, he'll be one of Liverpool's and the EPL's best players.
Another benefit of youth is courage or, in this case, blind courage. The man has no fear on the pitch and hasn't looked hesitant to take on anyone and everyone he's come against.
It's stunning to see such fearlessness in someone so young with the stakes so high. Perhaps ignorance is bliss in this case, and as he matures to the EPL, he might not play with as much self-abandon in the future.
Despite his mindset to take on defenders much bigger and stronger than him, Sterling has not looked as fragile as his diminutive frame might suggest.
He's bounced up after every knock thus far and seems quite durable for his size. Time will tell of course, but if the early going is any indication, it looks even more promising for No. 31.
Being able to play a full 90 minutes adds tremendous value to any player. With Sterling not showing very many signs of fatigue toward the end of games, and with him still not theoretically being in his physical prime, his endurance is really off the charts.
This kid's motor does not stop and Rodgers has to feel confident knowing that here is a player that will give the same effort in the 119th minute of the FA Cup final as he will in the 15th minute in a match vs. Norwich City.
Sterling came fully equipped with a six-speed gearbox right from Liverpool's youth reserve factory. He possesses that rare extra gear and masks it so well at times that when he chooses to shift, he can blow by defenders effortlessly.
What's more impressive than his wheels is his ability to maintain his control and composure while pulling off high-speed maneuvers. His touch can be sublime at times, and in tight spaces he seems to be gliding around the ball while defenders are standing still.
His ability to read the game and find players in support after pulling one or two defenders away from the box is already superb, but it can only improve as he continues to learn the nuances and tricks of the trade. He seems to see how a particular maneuver will unfold as he's blowing by defenders or tiptoeing the touchline.
Sterling's ability to pick out the right pass or drop will only improve, but is already impressive for a 17-year-old. He's picked the wrong target in the box at times and will make some mistakes yet, but his progress is noticeable and extremely encouraging.
We haven't seen any goals in competition from him this season, but rest assured they will come. His finishing ability while playing for the youth squad was simply stunning, and that class is bound to translate to the EPL at some point.
Sterling has all of the tools in his tool bag and seems to have the right mindset to excel in the Premier League. With Rodgers' guidance and proper management, the sky is the limit for Raheem Sterling.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!