Raheem Sterling is a lover, not a fighter.
The England and Manchester City winger, 23, has called on Three Lions fans to create positive vibes ahead of the 2018 World Cup this summer in Russia.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live in the UK, Sterling urged supporters to be more supportive of the much-maligned team who went undefeated throughout World Cup qualifying but some of their play under Gareth Southgate was criticized.
“I feel sometimes there’s a bit too much negativity. I would love to hear some positive notes going in, just to make the boys know that everyone’s behind them,” Sterling said. “If you want your country to do well, as everyone says, bring a positive light into it; make the boys go off to the World Cup with clear heads, knowing everyone’s behind them, everyone’s with them. We know what we can do. I believe what we can do. It’s just having that support and that backing, feeling loved. Trust me, I think you’ll definitely see a better England.”
Sterling’s honesty about the situation could go one of two ways: either England’s fans cut their team a bit of slack (unlikely) or they simply say ‘give us something to be positive about.’
The latter sentiment is probably the overriding feeling as England have crashed out of the Group Stage in the 2014 World Cup and were shocked by Iceland in the Round of 16 at EURO 2016. England are seven games unbeaten and haven’t conceded in their last five outings (including friendlies with Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands) but they haven’t scored in three of their last five games either as the kinks are worked out in a new 3-4-3 formation.
Still, surely a few positive vibes instead of lambasting the players could have an impact on Southgate’s young squad as they enter the World Cup this summer as plucky darkhorse to go far.
Sterling will have played in three major tournaments if he makes it to Russia and with the winger improving drastically for Man City this season under Pep Guardiola (he is currently having his best-ever goalscoring season with 20 goals) he is expected to be a main man for the Three Lions.
With two goals in 36 games for England, Sterling acknowledged he needs to score more for his country. Perhaps if he received plenty of positive vibes rather than being slammed for his displays by England’s fans he can deliver.
At this point, England have tried pretty much everything to succeed at major tournament. With a talented, but young, squad, now more than ever they need their fans to get behind them this summer.