Raheem Sterling’s ‘courage’ in taking the decisive penalty in Man City’s League Cup final shootout win over Chelsea has earned the admiration of Pep Guardiola.

With the score still 0-0 after extra time, the two sides had to decide it in a penalty shootout, with Sterling sealing a 4-3 win for the Citizens.

And Guardiola has revealed Sterling, who has often come in for harsh criticism, insisted on taking ‘the first or fifth’ penalty in an incredible show of fortitude.

How much has Sterling developed? Five key things to know…

  1. After making his senior debut in 2012, Sterling scored 23 goals in 129 games for Liverpool.
  2. A contract dispute led to Sterling making a £49m move to Man City in 2015.
  3. The England international scored 13 league goals during his first two seasons at the Etihad.
  4. But Sterling has 30 league goals so far since then and scored the winning penalty in Sunday’s League Cup final.
  5. Guardiola says Sterling insisted on taking ‘the first or last penalty’ and praised his attitude.

“I cannot anticipate how far he will go, but I admire the fact that he took responsibility,” said Guardiola.

“He wanted the last penalty or the first one. He’s 24 years old and I think that’s magnificent.

“I think he’s enjoying it more, he will retire and say he had the courage and responsibility.

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“The players are judged on these actions, the last taker in the finals. That makes the difference.”

Sunday’s League Cup win was the first time City have ever retained a major trophy and the first step on the road to a possible quadruple.

‘Teammate’s recognition all Sterling needs’, says Guardiola

Despite developing into one of the most consistent forwards in the Premier League over the last few seasons, many are still quick to detract from Sterling’s ability, with the 24-year-old getting a fraction of the credit he often deserves.

Guardiola, though, has insisted Sterling should not be worried by that and should instead focus on winning the admiration of his teammates.

“He has to be not concerned about that, you show them,” he added. “The important thing is the opinion of his mates, if they give credit, that’s the best prize you can have as a football player.”

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