Sterling not the finished article yet: Pep
Raheem Sterling can become one of the best players in the world, but only if he converts more scoring opportunities.
That was the opinion of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, after the England winger was named the Man of the Match in City's 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The 23-year-old took his tally for the season to 22 goals in all competitions with the third goal. However, just as he did in the Manchester Derby defeat the previous weekend, Sterling missed some great scoring opportunities.
It prompted Guardiola to say in a Sky Sports interview: "The moment he is able to increase the number of goals he scores... he will become one of the best players in the world because he has everything.
"He is a fighter. He is so dynamic. He is so good, but he has to improve that (finishing). He has a lot of chances and he has to improve his average. But he is so young, he has the ability and he has the will to do that."
Sterling himself agrees that he can improve and told Sky Sports: "Against United, I snatched at a few (chances) and didn't take my time.
"Today, when I had a chance inside the box, I tried to take my time, went around the goalkeeper, tried to be composed and the defender came at the last moment."
Although Sterling missed a few chances, Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry has been impressed by the City winger's improvement this season.
Said the Arsenal legend: "He always gets criticised when he doesn't score... But I always say that if a striker or winger are in these type of positions it is always a plus. Also, how many times did he save City this season?"
Fellow pundit Graeme Souness believes Sterling just needs to be more composed.
Said the former Liverpool manager: "If it is an instinctive finish and it drops to him, he'll score, but not when he has got a bit of time to think about it... but I don't know how you give someone that composure."