Forget Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling has been the talisman for England at Euro 2020. His goals, assists and even a penalty win against Denmark in the semi-final are the main reason why the Three Lions are in the final of the competition.
As we all wait to see whether the European Championships trophy finally 'comes home' on Sunday, it’s already clear who the tournament’s Most Valuable Player is. Long before Harry Kane found his scoring boots, Sterling scored the crucial goals to take England to the second round.
The Manchester City winger netted in 1-0 wins against Croatia and Czech Republic in the group stage. He scored again in a 2-0 humbling of Germany in the round of 16 before contributing another assist to oust Ukraine from the competition in the quarter-final.
His latest exploits against Denmark that took England to the Euros final shows just how pivotal he has been for the Three Lions. And how good he has been in the competition as a whole.
After the semi-final match, a WhoScored tweet read: “Raheem Sterling completed 10 dribbles in England’s 2-1 win over Denmark, a record in a match at #EURO2020.”
Sterling is a man on fire!
It’s rather surprising for a player that had an underwhelming campaign with City last term. In fact, not much was expected from the 26-year-old heading into the tournament. He was out of form and was benched in Man City’s crucial Champions League games.
A surprise inclusion in the UCL final lineup against Chelsea, many questioned Pep Guardiola’s decision. The team went on to lose and the Englishman was seen as one of the reasons why. He didn’t cover himself in glory, failing to make any significant contribution in the match.
But how things can change! Sterling has been a beast at the Championships. He has been at his best and the best player for England in the competition. In fact, he is the most consistent and influential player in the tournament as a whole.
As can be expected, that has led to speculations concerning his future. While some reports claim City are ready to offer him a new deal after the Euros, others state that Real Madrid are ready to swoop in. There are reports Sterling is open to a move away from the Etihad Stadium.
Although Guardiola is said to want the player to stay, a move could be on the cards. Recall that the winger flirted with the Spanish giants in February 2020. Ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League encounter with Real, he granted an interview to AS.
Here’s one of the questions he was asked:
You once said: “Everyone’s dream growing up is seeing themselves in an away kit somewhere in a sunny country”. Would you like to play one day for Real Madrid?
“(Laughs) How do I answer that one? Is the camera live or is it just taking pictures? No one knows what the future will hold. I am a player and I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at Manchester City. In the future, hopefully, who knows..” Sterling responded.
With a response like that, if Real Madrid came for him, it’s difficult to see how he won’t jump ship. It will be an opportunity and an offer too difficult to turn down given his childhood ambition.
One more outstanding performance against Italy in the final and the forward will be well deserving of the tournament’s MVP. And for his future at City, in his own words ‘who knows…’.