Raheem Sterling has explained the reasons behind his summer exit from Liverpool and why he has shunned the media spotlight since his move to Manchester City.
Sterling’s high-profile £44million move from Anfield to the Etihad Stadium in the summer caused much anger among Liverpool fans, but the 21-year-old has made it clear he moved to better his career.
The deal could hit £49million with add-ons but the England international has had a topsy-turvy first season with City, who currently sit 12 points off the Premier League leaders Leicester with a game in hand ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday, but insists the move was a great opportunity for him.
Speaking to Sky Sports what he thinks of the public’s perception of him, Sterling insists he was focused on what was best for his career, and revealed his biggest critic can actually be his mother.
Sterling said: “The main [comment] on my Instagram is the snake sign – that’s the biggest one so far – and someone that loves money, hungry for money.
“Realistically, I am trying to improve as a player and that’s the most important thing for me and for my development. I just did what I thought was best for my career at that moment in time.”
Asked about his mother Nadine’s input on his game, Sterling added: “After games you get messages from friends and family and I can honestly say of all the games I’ve played this year about 10 to 15 times I’ve had – from my mum – ‘you weren’t in the box as much as you should be. You should be closer to the goal so it makes it easier for you’.
“I can’t believe her level of thinking. I actually call her Jose Mourinho because she actually thinks she is the Chosen One!
“To be fair to her, at the start when I was 17 she didn’t know as much. She knew all the rules and stuff like that – but the things she’s telling me are the things I am trying to get better at.
“It’s kind of annoying because those are things I’m trying to change and get better at and she’s pointing it out to me and I don’t like that! It’s the fact that it’s actually true is the most annoying bit!
Sterling on media blackout
Sterling, who has scored 11 goals in 41 games for City, had not engaged with the media since the summer move.
He insists that decision is solely down to him wanting to concentrate on the football, and the desire to let his play on the pitch do the talking.
“Obviously getting a move to City was a great opportunity for me and a great stepping stone, but I thought to give myself the best chance to progress and do well was to try to stay out of people’s TV’s and headlines.
“I tried to be seen to focus on football and make it the right headlines. It’s a difficult one because people formed an opinion on me and I can’t do anything to change that.
“If I came out again and said something else it would probably make the situation a lot worse. Maybe it could have made it better, who knows?
“I thought to myself at that moment in time it was the right thing to do – get a level playing field and try to keep it a smooth one and go into the season with the right head and focus.
“I think I’ve not done too bad. I think I’ve stayed out of the way.”