Raheem Sterling has acknowledged the huge role Pep Guardiola has played in his return to form this season -but the Manchester City star will always have huge gratitude to former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
The England forward has been in the best form of his City career this season, with plenty in the game feel he is finally showing the same form he did in his final season at Anfield.
After an indifferent first season at the Etihad, Sterling has blossomed so much under Guardiola’s guidance that current Reds boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his shock that Liverpool “undervalued the player at £49million”.
Sterling on Guardiola
And Sterling, who is set to be given more responsibility in the Manchester City side in the wake of Kevin De Bruyne’s injury, has acknowledged the roles both Rodgers and Guardiola have had on his career.
“The manager [Guardiola] has told me to enjoy scoring goals and seeing the ball go into the back of the net. He gives everyone the confidence, not just me,” Sterling said.
“He gives everyone the belief and the motivation. His speech before [the game v Swansea] was fantastic and it means that when you go out on to the pitch you are really fired up for the game.
“This is a team that is forever growing and developing. Those relationships are developing, the team spirit is great in the dressing room, on the pitch, we are fighting for each other and we need to keep that going.
“We are trying to improve and not relax, that is what the manager is trying to get us to do.”
He added: “I have had a few chances over the last couple of years and I need to be finishing them off. What is going to make me the player I want to be is scoring more goals, being cool in front of goal and scoring as many as I can.”
Sterling on Rodgers
City will visit Celtic aiming to achieve an 11th successive victory in all competitions under Guardiola. Sterling will come up against Rodgers, who gave him his full Premier League debut at Liverpool in 2012, and he admitted his former manager has played a crucial role in his development.
“He was massive for me. I try to learn from every manager I work with and he is a man I definitely learned a lot from,” Sterling said. “When he first moved from Liverpool I spoke to him then and have spoken to him a couple of times since. I have changed my number a couple of times since then, so I look forward to catching up with him and hopefully getting his new number.
“He is a fantastic guy. He played me in different positions to help me understand those roles and what it took. He gave me a lot of confidence. It will be good to see him again and I wish him well – but on the day it all comes down to winning the game.”