Frank McParland – the man who discovered Raheem Sterling for Liverpool – has labelled the player a “freak” and said his ability always stood out to him.
Born in Jamaica, Sterling moved to London at the age of seven and began his career at QPR before signing for Liverpool in 2010 for an initial fee of £600,000, which eventually rose to £5million.
After 95 appearances for Liverpool, Sterling left the club for Manchester City over the summer in a deal which could eventually rise to £49million and McParland said of the player: “He was such a stand-out at an early age. I started watching him when he was 14 and a lot of clubs really fancied him. A lot didn’t, but we were lucky to be in the right position to get it done.
“QPR got a good deal. They got a decent portion of the £50million (from his move from Anfield to Manchester City).
“Sure, finances do come into it, but Raheem was on next to nothing when he came to Liverpool. I always remember that he couldn’t sign his pro forms until he was 17. We had agreed it when he was 16. We then put it up when he was 16 and-a-half and again when he signed it. Everyone knew he was going to be a first-team player at least.
“When he was at Liverpool, the kid just wanted to improve every day. The kid is like a freak. He works so hard, but he is so fit. He is not just the quickest, but he can run the longest as well. He is an unbelievable professional and person. I still speak to him now.”
McParland has since headed north of the border to Rangers recently, and he sees similarities between the two clubs.
“Liverpool is a same level of club to this one. I look around this club and it reminds me of Liverpool,” he told the Daily Mail.
McParland was one of the Rafael Benitez’s most trusted advisors during the Spaniard’s time at Anfield and says he was involved in the deals to bring a number of stars to the club.
“Rafa signed a lot of the players at Liverpool. But I was involved with Pepe Reina, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and a lot of good players,” he added.