Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has hailed Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling as his player of the year.
Sterling has been in wonderful form this season as City are still pushing for an unprecedented quadruple, having wrapped up the Carabao Cup in February.
Does Sterling deserve to win Player of the Year? Five key things to know…
- Raheem Sterling has once again improved under the tutelage Pep Guardiola this season.
- The Englishman has scored 15 goals and recorded nine assists in the Premier League.
- His contribution has helped Manchester City to top the Premier League with just eight games remaining.
- And Rio Ferdinand has backed Sterling as his player of the year for the effect he has.
- However, Ferdinand went on to explain why he thinks the Englishman may miss out on the award.
The Englishman has scored 19 goals across all competitions so far, including one in City’s 7-0 win over Schalke in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
And, speaking before the game, Ferdinand professed his adoration for the 24-year-old.
“I love this guy,” he said on BT Sport.
“He’s my player of the year. I think he affects games in terms of having moments.
“He hasn’t played well in every game this season, but what he has done, he’s had a huge effect on the result.”
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However, Ferdinand went on to reveal his beliefs on why Sterling might not be chosen for the award.
“I don’t think that is the only reason,” he replied when it was put to him that Sterling might be unfavoured for being English.
“I think he has alluded to it that is he is judged by the colour of his skin sometimes.
“I don’t think that is too far from the truth. If Harry Kane was doing what he was doing then we are all talking about Harry Kane being the European Player of the Year.
“That is no slight on Harry Kane, but that is how Raheem is judged.
“Not only is he maturing on the pitch but off the pitch how he is carrying himself is a testament to him and other young players of every culture can note from what he is doing.
“He is showing it is beneficial to talk. If you can talk eloquently and do it at the right time then you will get your point across in the right way.”
Southgate backs “incredible” Sterling for Player of the Year
Ferdinand is not the only one to have heaped praise on Sterling this season, with England manager Gareth Southgate also speaking highly of his forward.
“The thing that stands out with Raheem is his tenacity,” Southgate said in early March.
“His recovery from setbacks and his resilience and proving people wrong – he’s always responding in the right way to those challenges.
“It’s incredible. He’s gone to a big club [Liverpool] when he was very young and dealt with that.
“Another big move to City, adapted to that. They sign new players every summer and you’d think his place was under threat, but he’s come through that. I think he’s had a phenomenal season.
“He’s got to be one of the candidates for player of the year.”