Raheem Sterling Says Criticism Hindered Him After Leaving Liverpool for Man City

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling reacts during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 6, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has said the criticism he received after joining the club from Liverpool in 2015 had a negative effect on his confidence.

Sterling joined the Etihad Stadium outfit for a British record fee but struggled for consistency initially. However, in his most recent two seasons, he has excelled under manager Pep Guardiola and was recently named as the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.

Speaking ahead of City's FA Cup final with Watford on Saturday, Sterling said the comments from those associated with Liverpool in the media hindered his form, per BBC Sport:

"When I was 14, 15, 16, 17, I was so confident. Then there was a gap between the ages of 17 and 20. I was so used to people talking positively about me in terms of football.

"Everything was so nice and there was a switch when I left and everyone was saying 'he's no good'. I hadn't even played for Manchester City but people were saying I was not good enough; he will never be what he thinks he will.

"It wasn't just fans but professional players you looked up to, that you watched on TV when you were a kid. They were all Liverpool supporters and ex-Liverpool players and I get it now, but at the time it was a bit hard for me to take. It was a learning curve."

Sterling also spoke about what advice he would offer if he could speak to his 15-year-old self:

If City win the FA Cup on Saturday, they will make history by becoming the first men's team to win a domestic treble in England, having already secured the League Cup and Premier League. Sterling celebrated his second league title with the club on Sunday:

While he is now regarded as one of the best players in the top flight, the path to success at City hasn't been straightforward. Since Guardiola's arrival, though, he has developed into a productive wide forward, scoring 35 goals and providing 21 assists over the past two seasons.

Per Andy Kelly of the Liverpool Echo, former Liverpool legends Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard were both critical of the manner in which Sterling sought to make his move to City.

Despite that and the recent rivalry that's come about between the two teams as part of the title race, Sterling recently hinted he still does have some affinity for his former club:

Whatever has happened in Sterling's career so far does appear to have made him stronger. Not only is he excelling frequently on the field, he's become a leading voice in the fight against racism in football too.

With the team and individual accolades beginning to add up, Sterling is on course to become one of the most successful players in City's history. At just 24 years old, he still should have many years left at the highest level too.

Related

    Legal Battle Could Move El Clasico Yet Again

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Legal Battle Could Move El Clasico Yet Again

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report

    Pep Praises 'Incredible' Sterling After UCL Hat-Trick

    'He can play both sides, he's fast and defensively he helps us a lot. He is an extraordinary player'

    Manchester City logo
    Manchester City

    Pep Praises 'Incredible' Sterling After UCL Hat-Trick

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Today's Champions League Fixtures 🍿

    Tap for Wednesday preview. All matches available on B/R Live (🇺🇸 only)

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Today's Champions League Fixtures 🍿

    Rob Blanchette
    via Bleacher Report

    Mourinho to Bundesliga?

    Ex-Man Utd coach is Dortmund's No. 1 choice to replace Lucien Favre

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Mourinho to Bundesliga?

    Mail Online
    via Mail Online