Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling was a special talent from a young age according to the first coaches he worked with as a youngster in a superb in-depth report from The Times.
The England international, now regarded as one of the best players in the Premier League after some superb form for Liverpool this season and last, first started his development at Queens Park Rangers, though it has been revealed that he also came close to signing for Tottenham Hotspur.
Although Sterling had a difficult time at school, spending some time in special needs, and one of his youth workers, Clive Ellington, spoke about his desire to become a footballer, and how much he stood out as gifted among the other players in his age group.
Never miss a goal with our FREE Football video app!
“I took him to the park one day,” Ellington recalled “And I thought, he’s got something about him, he was outshining all the others.”
QPR coach Steve Gallen added that Sterling worked his way into the club’s Under-16 side when he was just 13, as he was already good enough to mix it up with players older than him.
“He was small, but good,” Gallen explained. “We gave him the longest deal you can give a kid of that age.
“I became the under-16 manager and I dragged him into the under-16 team when he was 13. I was cautious, it wasn’t easy for him, people were kicking him or late with challenges because he was so quick, but he was good enough to be playing at their level.”
On Sterling’s current situation at Anfield, Gallen added that he believes the player is not holding the club to ransom, though he hopes he moves for a big transfer fee so QPR can end up taking a share.
“He just wants to win; I 100 per cent believe what he said in the TV interview. It’s not a ploy to get more out of Liverpool,” he said.
“It’s encouraging that he hasn’t reached his peak yet. I hope he gets sold. Liverpool fans won’t like me saying it, but I want everyone to recognise he’s done so well. If we ended up with, say, £10 million, then that is justified.”