Tuesday, March 21, 2023

From A Waste Of Money To Havoc-Maker Upfront – How This Man City Man Turned It Around

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Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

Not much of time has elapsed since terms such as ‘failure’, ‘waste of money’ and ‘another overhyped English talent’ were brandished on Raheem Sterling. During Manuel Pellegrini’s last year at the Etihad Stadium, barely any of his personnel met the expectations or the yardsticks assigned to them. But sadly, the 21-year-old was the one to receive most of the stick and was mocked relentlessly.

Sterling kept accumulating the insolent behaviour of the football fraternity and became a victim of the same. A clear sense of enduring frustration engulfed his tenure on the pitch and just when there seemed to be no room for respite, the newly appointed manager in Pep Guardiola saved the talented youngster from a complete meltdown. The Spaniard lent attentive ears to the cause and the fruitful results reflect the stature of success he has had with his talented winger.

The serial scapegoat who has been the ‘Hated One’ even by his own set of fans during the last season has turned into an instrument for the sheer attacking powerhouse with an undeniable ruthlessness this time around. 5 goals and 3 assists from 11 appearances in the sky blue shirt gives a testamentary evaluation as to how he has transformed himself, thanks to the tutelage of the former Bayern Munich manager.

Guardiola’s emphasis on keeping the team in a perfect shape holds prime importance, until they put the ball in the final third where the likes of Sterling are given the license to go out all guns blazing and express themselves. The impeccable dribbling skill of Manchester City’s no. 7 comes into the scene here. He is played out extreme wide to isolate him from his markers to impose pressure on the opposition’s defence but at the same time, he is also engaged with the responsibility of bagging goals.

Slowly but surely, he has reacquired his status of being a prolific 1-vs-1 player with tons of trickeries, a winger who never shies away from aiming at the target and whose dynamism is one of the best in the business. The former Liverpool attacker, who controversially moved to the blue half of Manchester for a whopping £49 million, be it due to the advice of his agent, is tailor-made to fit in Guardiola’s tactical nous. On the wings with blistering pace and precision with his wide range of passes, Sterling has clicked in Manchester City’s new era with absolute ease.

Interestingly, the upward trajectory fell into place with a text message from the new manager, followed by word of mouth and appraisals in public for the English international who had stumbled quite a bit in his first season at Manchester. From what seemed like damage that had no repair, the bald genius has instilled back the attributes such as confidence and trust along with some slight tactical ramifications to make Sterling hungrier than ever before.

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