Raheem Sterling

AP Photo/Luis Vieira

Pickford the hero as England takes third

Leave a comment

England and penalty kicks. Even in a third-place game, there was still drama.

Jordan Pickford scored in penalty kicks and made the lone save of the spot kicks as England beat Switzerland 6-5 in kicks after a scoreless 120 minutes to finish in third place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Pickford scored in the fifth round of kicks, as no one missed, before stopping Josip Drmic on Switzerland’s sixth attempt.

England lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals, while the Swiss fell to Portugal.

A Callum Wilson goal overturned for a foul was perhaps the lone thing to shout about over 120 minutes of football.

Raheem Sterling struck the cross bar and England grew into the game despite long periods of Swiss control. He was the danger man for the Three Lions, albeit without the clinical finishing that dotted the landscape of his Premier League season.

Report: Sterling to be named England captain for match against Netherlands

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the occasion of his 50th cap, Raheem Sterling is set to be bestowed with a major honor.

The Guardian in England reports that England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to hand Sterling the captain’s armband for England’s first match of the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, with England set to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on Thursday. Sterling is coming off a terrific season with Manchester City, winning the domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

[READ: FIFA U-20 World Cup roundup]

While this is a terrific achievement for Sterling, reading between the lines, it could also hint that both Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, previous England captains under Southgate, may be rested or at least be on the bench for the match. Both Kane and Henderson played in last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final and despite having a three-week break prior to that match, Kane is clearly still working back to fitness. Both players went the full 90 in the match and with two games scheduled this week regardless of Thursday’s outcome for Southgate, he could decide that both should be rested until Sunday’s match.

If Kane is rested, we could see Marcus Rashford starting up top, while Fabian Delph or Declan Rice could slot into midfield.

Raheem Sterling hopes to play in MLS

AP
Leave a comment

Raheem Sterling has been a star on and off the field this season as he led Manchester City to a stunning domestic treble in England.

The winger scored 26 goals in 51 appearances for City in all competitions and was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association Player of the year.

During a quick offseason break to the USA, Sterling has been talking in New York City at the Wall Street Journal’s Everything Festival.

He discussed his ongoing efforts to try and combat a steep rise in racist incidents across the soccer world in recent months, with Sterling calling for UEFA and other governing bodies to increase punishments for racist abuse from fans, and has said he wants to talk to the English FA and Premier League about ways to help the growing problem.

He also spoke about his future, and even though the Man City and England star is still just 24 years old (crazy to think he has just completed his seventh full PL season, I know, mind blown…) he has plans to head to the USA this summer.

“English football has grown massively over here. It wasn’t like that in the past and it’ll continue to get bigger,” Sterling said. “I was surprised walking out of the hotel today and being recognized by one or two people. I didn’t expect that over here. This is a country I would one day love to be able to come to. Your weather is a lot better over here than ours is. Hopefully one day I can bring my family over here.”

Asked specifically about playing in MLS in the future, Sterling revealed he is pretty keen to play Stateside.

“There’s always games on our tele at the training ground, we’re either watching this or the Australian League,” Sterling said. “For sure, this [MLS] is growing in the UK, and people are really taking it in and want to come over. I hopefully want to have a career here as well.”

With Man City’s connection with New York City FC, there’s an obvious club where Sterling could head to when he fancies moving to MLS, but if it’s good weather he’s after in the winter months, perhaps a move to Inter Miami or LAFC would be a better fit?

Either way, Sterling’s comments fall in line with a growing trend of elite players in Europe now seeing MLS as a serious destination for not only the latter years of their career but during their prime. We are not saying Sterling is heading to MLS anytime soon, but maybe when he’s 30 or 31 instead of 34 or 35?

Sterling, Walker joke about bad misses in hilarious Twitter banter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have been both club and international teammates for nearly two years now, since the latter joined Manchester City back in the summer of 2017. That’s plenty of time for the two to build a strong friendship, and often that includes some good-natured banter.

Manchester City topped Leicester City 1-0 on Monday to put the Citizens back in the pole position for the Premier League title with just one game to go, a massive result that has left Pep Guardiola with just one more 90-minute battle to navigate to see this tense title challenge through. Still, the match was nervy until Vincent Kompany‘s absolute belter to win it, as City dominated the second half but found it difficult to break Leicester City down inside the penalty area.

Until Kompany’s thunderous strike, Man City’s finishing left much to be desired, kept out by Kasper Schmeichel on a number of occasions and leaving City fans nervous they would be held to a draw that would see Liverpool take over as title favorites. Once the result was secured and the pressure was lifted, Sterling and Walker had a little fun at each other’s expense, poking fun at each other’s poor finishes earlier in the match. Sterling first retweeted a fan who sent him a Walker shot from distance in the 17th minute that flew miles over the bar. Walker responded with a 52nd minute Sterling header that also found the seats high over the bar, joking that it looked more like a defender sending the ball out for a corner.

Now now fellas, all in good fun.

The two deserve to enjoy themselves after the season and stretch Manchester City has put together. The club has won a stunning 13 matches in a row, without dropped points since late January. Both Sterling and Walker have missed just one match during that stretch, otherwise both proving vital to the side. The two have often combined on the right flank, although recently Sterling has been moved to the left to accommodate Bernardo Silva.

To pile on the jokes, Sterling mentioned Walker’s skied effort on Instagram as well, adding to his Instagram post about Kompany’s winning blast, “And if anyone has updates for the one @kylewalker2 hit in 1st half, please let us know.” Sterling then posted on Twitter that “legend says we still looking for that ball #nowheretobefound.”

Van Dijk beats Sterling to PFA Player of the Year award

Photo credit: @LFC
1 Comment

It’s rare that defenders get “the credit they deserve,” but Virgil Van Dijk has been winning plaudits — and points for Liverpool — all season long, culminating in being named the PFA Player of the Year on Sunday.

[ MORE: Man City, Liverpool go 10-of-11 on PFA Team of the Year ]

Perhaps no player in the world has had a greater impact over his first 18 months at a new club, as the Reds’ defense has gone from comical liability prior to his arrival, to conceding a league-low 20 goals through the first 36 games of their ongoing Premier League title race with Manchester City.

“It’s pretty difficult to put into words. I think it’s the highest honor you can get as a player to get voted player of the year by the players you play against every week. It’s special. I’m very proud and honored to receive it.”

Raheem Sterling, who’s arguably been the best player for Man City and the best attacker in the PL this season, was beaten out by Van Dijk for the senior award but still took home the Young Player of the Year award after racking up 17 goals and 10 assists in league play.

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema was named the female Player of the Year, while a fellow Man City star, Georgia Stanway, joined Sterling with Young Player honors.