Sterling not equipped to justify fee – Hoddle

Date published: Sunday 2nd August 2015 11:03

Sterling became the most expensive English player of all time when joining City from Liverpool for £49million earlier this summer, but Hoddle believes he is some way off being able to influence games with the regularity the likes of Eden Hazard does for Chelsea.

“There are two ways of looking at the £49million Manchester City paid Liverpool for Raheem Sterling,” Hoddle told the Daily Mail.

“On one hand, I can imagine the accountants justifying it. If you break it down over the length of his five-year deal, it’s just under £10m a year and, even when you take into account his wages, that doesn’t seem so bad.

“But great price tags bring great expectations and players such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva will be looking to Sterling to prove he’s worth so much.

“Does Sterling at the age of 20 have the temperament and character to walk into a City team of superstars and say to those players: ‘Give me the ball, I’m the man who will make the difference’?

“I don’t think he’s at that stage yet and I feel he would have been better spending another season at Liverpool, developing his game and getting another year’s experience.

“He’s a really good player with loads of potential but for £49m you’re not buying potential. You’re buying someone who can drive you on to the Premier League title or into the Champions League final. You’re buying a player who needs to be performing at the level Eden Hazard was last season for Chelsea.

“The investment that City have made in him would suggest he will be better than Silva, maybe even better than Aguero, and that’s doesn’t seem likely at the moment.

“That kind of money demands not occasional moments of brilliance in 15 games a season but a decisive impact over 40 games. And when the most important fixtures come along, against the Premier League top four and in the latter stages of the Champions League, he will be expected to win games.

“He has done excellently for England so far and for Liverpool – more so in 2013-14 when he was relatively unknown and there wasn’t so much expectation. When Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard carried the burden of expectation, he shone. Now he has to bear it and show he carries it well.

“He’s not equipped to do so yet. He might be in two or three years’ time. The size of the fee, however, suggests he is the finished article and a genuine superstar of the game.

“I hope that he proves me wrong and hits the ground running, as it will be fantastic for England with Euro 2016 coming up.

“In two or three years I think there is a chance he will deliver. But I’m not sure we’ll see him as defining player for City this season. It may be the right move at the wrong time.”

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