Manchester City star Raheem Sterling says he has tried to take his game to the highest level by taking time study some of the world’s best players.
The England forward admits he has been watching the techniques of the game’s greatest players in a bid to find ways to better his own performances.
And Sterling, who hit the winner on Sunday as Manchester City recovered from a half-time deficit to beat Arsenal 2-1, appears to be reaping the rewards after having his game reinvigorated under Pep Guardiola this season.
“I watch players to get better. I’m only 22 and I’m going to watch world-class players to see if I can improve my game week-in, week-out,” he said.
“There are many players in my position I watch to keep adding to my game. I know I can still get better.”
Sterling’s first season at City following an acrimonious move from Liverpool fizzled out after suffering a groin injury in March and his performances at Euro 2016 were widely criticised.
But Guardiola contacted Sterling during the tournament in the summer to offer assurances that he would figure in his plans at City. He appears to be taking that chance.
Sterling said: “He has told me to be direct, to be the player he knows I want to be – to be direct, to be involved in creating chances and scoring goals, being clinical, and that’s what I need to do.
“It’s about me enjoying my football, learning each day at training. I just need to show it on the pitch.
“I can’t keep talking about it, but have to do it. I need to express myself and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
After a recent indifferent spell, City now hope back-to-back victories over Watford and Arsenal have got them back on track.
Sterling said: “I’m massively excited about this season and what we can achieve. Of course we want the title and to do well in the Champions League. It’s good times ahead, exciting times, and we just need to keep going.”