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Is it all coming too fast for this Liverpool starlet?
Despite being just 17 years of age, Sterling has been plunged into England’s senior set-up, whilst being seen as one of his club’s most important players. Although his call up for England as they took on Ukraine may have had more to do with keeping him out of his native Jamaica’s long-term plans, it’s not out of the question that he could become a key squad member if he continues to impress.
One major worry is that it’s ‘too much, too young’, and that Sterling should be nurtured rather than exposed to the unrelenting pressure of being a part of the national team set-up, as well as a regular starter for one of the most iconic club sides in England.
It has been seen in the past that players who are pressured early on can often suffer a drop in development. One prime example of that is Theo Walcott, who was hailed as ‘the next big thing’ not so long ago. A series of underwhelming displays for both club and country have dented the winger’s confidence, and, arguably, prevented him from reaching his full potential.
There is also the fact that Sterling’s body is still maturing. At 17, his muscles are not yet fully developed, and overexertion could lead to injury problems at a later date. One look at Michael Owen shows the potential problems. The striker broke onto the scene at a similar stage, and is now a shell of the player he could have been, ravaged by injuries and fitness problems.
On the flip side of the coin it can be argued that if you are good enough you’re old enough, and Sterling certainly is talented. His raw pace and excellent technique make him a headache for even the most experienced defenders, as he proved against Manchester City.
The experience he is gaining at a young age may serve to improve him as a player, and help him build into a rounded performer sooner. Wayne Rooney is now the best player England possess, and he made his Premier League debut at just 16-years-old.
Is all of the hype surrounding Sterling likely to hamper his development? Or will it make him a better player? Let us know below!