Raheem Sterling had his best season ever as a professional football player last term. He was second only to Sergio Aguero on the goalscoring charts for Manchester City with 18 league strikes. Another 11 assists brought his direct contribution to the team’s goal tally to 29. His goals and assists proved vital for the club on the way to a record-breaking campaign.
He scarcely received the praise he deserved as most England fans and media outlets were more concerned about his shortcomings than his achievements. But despite being subjected to severe criticism for both off-field issues and on-field performance while with the national team, he has answered his critics with superb outputs on the pitch.
He started the campaign with a starring role for City as Pep Guardiola’s men downed Arsenal 2-0 to open the new season. He has continued to distinguish himself both for club and country since. His recent brace for the Three Lions against Spain helped England secure a rather unexpected 3-2 victory against Luis Enrique’s side in the UEFA Nations League.
As talks about his contract renewal surfaced , even City supporters were divided in opinion about his value to the club with regard to his wage demands. While all will agree his is a very good player, some still felt he was demanding too much as he was reported to have requested for a huge increase to his earnings.
When sources close to the City number 7 revealed last week that he has reached an agreement with the club on a £300,000-a-week deal, the argument resurfaced. Earning that much would make him one of the top earners not only at the club, but also in the league as a whole. But it has become clearer that the former Liverpool man represents good value for the money.
So far, the 23-year-old has been directly involved in 11 leagues for the Sky Blues in just nine games this season. He has scored six times and set up another five goals. That makes him the best performing forward for Guardiola’s side. With these kind of contributions by the England international, he could be the club’s MVP this season as Kevin De Bruyne continues to have a running battle with injuries.
He scored a landmark 50th goal for the club in 152 appearances when he grabbed a brace against Southampton on Sunday. Winning four Man of the Match awards in the nine league games he has featured in suggests he will be very instrumental to the Cityzens’ aspirations this season.
Being the standout player in the standout team as far as England is concerned makes Sterling all the more deserving of being one of the best paid players in the world. When one considers the fact that there is a certain Alexis Sanchez who draws a similar or even higher weekly pay package on the other side of Manchester, yet his performance on the field does not justify the huge outlay, it becomes even clearer that the England international is worth every penny he is getting from Man City, and then some.
Sterling is value for money and has consistently delivered for the club. And if his manager’s assessment of his capabilities is anything to go by, he is just getting started. At 23, he is yet to reach his peak. A new deal means he will give his best years for the club helping it achieve even more success.
Image credit: City Watch