Sterling carried over his excellent form from Euro 2020 as England moved their attention to World Cup qualifying. He netted the opening goal of their 4-0 victory against Hungary in Budapest, setting the team away to a convincing result emblematic of how the national team has improved under Gareth Southgate’s tutelage.
The flying winger has developed into a prolific goalscorer over the past few years, owing to the supreme coaching of Pep Guardiola. He has refined his game from a tricky, pace merchant that hugged the touchlines to a goalscorer with a poacher’s instinct, a testament to his hard work and determination to improve.
Despite some suggesting his influence in the City side has dwindled over the past 12 months, Sterling has remained an ever-present for Southgate and has developed into England’s most consistent and decisive attacking star.
And ex-Manchester United midfielder Keane has suggested that Sterling is a pivotal figure for his national team and club side, even if his influence has waned somewhat at the Etihad.
“There’s no doubt, it’s not even up for debate [Sterling starting for England] where Sterling stands, obviously the stats back it up, he’s fantastic,” Keane reflected ahead of the Poland fixture.
“Maybe he’ll never be a fans favourite; I don’t know what it is. People who know about football know he’s a key man for England and a key man for Man City.”
With Gabriel Jesus ruled out of action in this weekend’s fixture against Leicester City, there is every chance that Sterling could reprise the role Jesus has excelled in the early weeks of the season. Sterling has operated from the right and the left of the City attack under Guardiola and has demonstrated himself capable of scoring goals from either side.
With just three goals needed to join the Premier League’s esteemed ‘100 Club’, City fans will not be surprised to see the East Londoner back and in the goals for Guardiola before too long.