Pep Guardiola explains how Raheem Sterling can earn his Man City place back

Pep Guardiola needs Raheem Sterling to rediscover his best level if he is to return to being a Manchester City regular.

The 26-year-old has been an integral part of the manager’s plans for the majority of his five years at the Etihad, but fell out of favour in the final months of last season as Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and others kept him out of the team.

After a superb tournament with England at the European Championship, Sterling made the City team for their opening Premier League game at Tottenham in August after less than a week of training following his summer holiday. That, however, is the only one of the five matches he has started this season despite impressing again for Gareth Southgate during the recent international break.

There will be more opportunities for Sterling and all players as the team rotates for their two games a week that are now upon them, yet up to this point Guardiola has seen more in other players; new signing Jack Grealish has started every match, and played the last four in the left-wing position that Sterling plays in usually for the team.

City’s manager is still backing the forward to impress this season, but wants him to reproduce his best form.

“Do you know how many incredible successes we had in the last seasons yeah? Impossible without Raheem. He’s such an important player.

“But I am here to tell them. He reached an incredible high standard and I have to tell him this is the standard we need, for you, for all of us.

“And I’m pretty sure he will get it. If he’s able to do it, he will do it. And I’m so optimistic that he will do a great season.”