Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has urged Reds starlet Raheem Sterling to commit to a new deal at Anfield, and the 17-year-old would benefit from taking his boss’ advice.
Rodgers made the following comments, as reported by The Guardian’s Andy Hunter:
I think it is important for the club that we sign our young talents but I think it is even more important for Raheem. This is a club that is going to give young players an opportunity. He has played more games than he could have dreamed of this season, both in the Premier League and the Europa League. Liverpool Football Club has given him the chance to become a full international player. So, I would think if I am Raheem Sterling and his agents, I would look to tie it up very quickly.
As The Daily Mirror’s John Cross notes, Sterling’s representation was put off by Rodgers’ characterization of the negotiations. While the manager’s comments about the situation have certainly been blunt, this should not deter them from keeping their client in Liverpool.
Sterling’s performances this season have been remarkably positive, and he has started all but one of the team’s Premier League games.
He has just one goal and one assist this season, but his pace and creativity have proven that he is an exceptional talent, and at this point in his career, Liverpool offers him an ideal situation.
If he were to commit to Liverpool for at least the remainder his teenage years, he would see significantly more playing time than he would if he opted to leave for a bigger club for more money. The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel has already noted that the contract row has already caught Manchester City’s attention.
Getting as much first-team action as possible should be Sterling’s top priority, and spending significantly more time on the bench would be a compromise he would have to make if he were to move to City.
While the reigning Premiership champions would be able to offer him more money, he will ultimately maximize his earnings if he keeps his long-term career goals in mind.
By staying at Anfield, he will continue his rise to stardom by facing England’s top defenders on a regular basis. Once his contract has run its course, he will be in a much more favorable position to make a decision on his future.
He will likely be in his early 20s at that point, and this is an ideal age for top clubs to sign young talent.
Rodgers may be the man to lead Liverpool back to the upper echelon on EPL teams, or he may be the club’s latest failed experiment. But no other English side offers Sterling a regular spot in the starting-11 and the possibility of becoming a legend by helping the team return to glory.
In a few years, he can make an informed decision on whether to stay with the club that took a chance on him as a teenager or to continue on to the next step in his career. In the near future, Anfield will be the best place for Sterling, regardless of the progress the Reds make.