Raheem Sterling is basking in adulation for his role in Liverpool’s rise to the top.
Sterling scored two goals and created another in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory against Norwich City on Sunday.
Afterward, Sterling’s manager and teammates spoke glowingly about the 19-year-old sensation.
“I think he is arguably the best young player in European football at the moment,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said, according to LiverpoolFC.com. “He’s a talent. I’ve been really pleased with his maturity. He puts an awful lot of time into his work. We’ve tried to play him in different positions to improve his football intelligence.”
Rodgers also highlighted Sterling’s versatility, which has allowed him to field the youngster as both a winger and central attacking midfielder in recent weeks.
Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen says Sterling is thriving in the Reds’ nurturing environment because of his talent and work ethic.
“The improvements he has made in the time I’ve been here is just incredible,” Allen told the Liverpool Echo on Monday. “He has become a very important player for us.
“I think it’s a combination of two things. Firstly, being given that chance to perform as young players can sometimes be overlooked. But the other side of it is being willing to work hard day in, day out to improve and Raheem has done that.”
Sterling has added muscle this season, which helps him play with confidence against bigger and older opponents, according to teammate Lucas Leiva.
“Raheem is playing with no fear, players normally have ups and downs, but he is really consistent and has probably been our best player over the past few months,” Leiva said Monday, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
Sterling’s progress has made him an odds-on favorite to earn a spot on England’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. It remains to be seen if Sterling will become a star for the Three Lions in Brazil this summer, but he’ll almost certainly be an important player for Liverpool for seasons to come.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.com