In one of the stories of last summer young English winger Raheem Sterling made a staggering move to Manchester City from Liverpool.
Reports from all over the country published that Liverpool’s then manager Brendan Rodgers had a rift with the 21 year old who wanted to move out of Liverpool that he made clear in a media statement.
Rodgers for the first time after his sacking spoke about the transfer saga that saw Sterling leave the Merseyside.
Speaking to Sky, Rodgers said,” “It wasn’t ideal but I think what was reported in the media was different to how it played out on a day-to-day basis. Raheem’s a great boy – I put him in the team at 17 and for the next couple of years he was incredible.”
“It’s just a shame that he was very close to signing the (new) deal and for whatever reason, it didn’t happen.”
The last few games of the last season saw Sterling drop to the bench and it was clear that he was not happy with his situation with at the club. However, Rodgers denied having any fight with the player and said that he shares a healthy relations hip with the 21-year old.
“I was surprised at (reports of a “breakdown in trust” between Rodgers and Sterling) because we were still in contact.”
“When the boy left, we messaged each other and when I left Liverpool, one of the first messages I got was from Raheem.”
“When he left there was apparently an array of reasons why; it was his position and then, towards the end, our communication had supposedly broken down. But that was never the case.”
Rodgers was also accused of playing Sterling in positions that were not suitable to him. However, the Irishman defended himself saying Sterling was one of the most dynamic players and that he learnt a lot playing in different positions.
“I take great pride in putting him into the team and we played him in a number of positions so he could develop; wide, as a No 10. He was such a great footballer that whenever I needed to chase the game, I could play three at the back, put him at right-back and let him go.”
“People looking from the outside might have thought I was playing him out of position but I could play him anywhere, he was absolutely brilliant.”
He’s gone on to Manchester City and that flexibility – also for England – has really helped him so I’d like the think the development he received from the coaches at Liverpool helped him.”
Rodgers was full of praise for the 21-year old and said that it was difficult for the club to let him go. Sterling moved to City in a £49 million deal that gave Rodgers a chance to re-group his squad.
Rodgers added, ”He’s a fantastic young man, he always trained hard. It was sad to see him go – especially after we’d lost Luis (Suarez) – but he’s a top-class young player and if he stays fit he’ll continue to improve and be one of the leading players for City and England.
“Can he be world-class? Time will tell. He’s got the talent. He’s certainly got the temperament. He’s got the speed. Technically, he’s improving all the time and he’s around good players.”