Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is in a more positive state of mind heading into Euro 2016 thanks to the input of sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.
The 21-year-old has had a tough time in his maiden season at the Etihad Stadium following his £49million move from Liverpool and has struggled to reproduce his best form, with the likes of John Barnes questioning the player’s progress since he made the move.
But having sought help off the pitch from Peters, who has worked with the England team since the 2014 World Cup, Sterling feels much better.
“Really it has been about me getting in a positive mindset with the staff here, Dr Steve Peters, and getting my mentality stronger,” said the winger.
“He has definitely helped me. I have been seeing him here with the national team. Most of the boys do.
“He just gets it into your head that mentality is key and a strong part of it is blocking certain things out and focusing singularly on your football.
“I have been working on that. He was with us at Liverpool and since I moved to City I didn’t have a chance to work with him.
“So since I joined up with England I have started speaking to him, it is a real bonus for me.”
Sterling is by no means guaranteed a starting place in Roy Hodgson’s line-up so he knows he has to work hard to regain the spark he had at Anfield.
“The competition for places is really fierce,” he added.
“There are loads of players with ability here so no one can take anything for granted. That is one thing I am not doing.”
Sterling was 19 when he went to the World Cup in Brazil so he knows exactly what Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford will be feeling after he scored on his senior debut against Australia at the Stadium of Light to give Hodgson plenty of food for thought ahead of his final cut to the squad on Tuesday.
“I would say to him (Rashford) to keep on doing what he is doing,” said Sterling.
“He is humble around the place and quiet and I like that.
“He has been really eager since he joined up. He has been friendly with everyone and he’s really nice to have around.”