ASHLEY COLE believes Raheem Sterling will push on and turn into one of many biggest gamers in English historical past.
The Manchester Metropolis ace, 24, has been in electrical kind for each membership and nation during the last 12 months.
However Cole, who was a part of the Three Lions squad when Sterling started his worldwide profession in 2012, believes that is simply the beginning.
The previous Chelsea full-back had a 13-year, 107-cap profession together with his nation, enjoying alongside greats equivalent to Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.
At membership stage, he was a team-mate of superstars equivalent to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Didier Drogba and Eden Hazard.
But Cole has been wowed by the way in which Sterling has developed his sport in recent times — particularly beneath Pep Guardiola at Manchester Metropolis, and believes he can go proper to the highest.
The 38-year-old, who’s working in direction of his teaching badges at Chelsea, stated: “Raheem can turn into one of many world’s greatest.
“If he retains aiding and scoring objectives, retains profitable trophies, he could be among the best gamers in English historical past.
“He’s matured massively. It helps having a supervisor who’s keen to stay by him and drum in sure actions to make him tactically extra conscious.
“You’ll be able to see that in his sport. His runs are higher, his actions are higher.
“He’s at all times on the transfer, turning and working at defenders, one thing which somebody together with his tempo must be doing frequently.
Raheem could be among the best gamers in English historical past.
“He simply perhaps didn’t have that at Liverpool however now he’s popping up with an finish product, scoring objectives which can be vitally vital.
“I at all times felt he was able to this. He had all of the attributes to do it, however most likely wanted a little bit of tweaking, which Pep Guardiola has seen — and brought the time to do it.
“He’s most likely the primary title on the staff sheet now.”
Cole was part of the 2004 Arsenal ‘Invicibles’ with Henry and says the extent the French World Cup-winner reached is what Sterling should aspire to.
He stated: “Might Raheem turn into a Thierry? We’ll should see. Raheem is a winger, Thierry began as a winger however his major place was a striker.
“Sure Raheem is getting higher, he’s getting a bit extra intelligent at tips on how to get in between the strains, driving with the ball extra.
“He was perhaps taking too many touches earlier than on the ball and his head wasn’t up.
“However now he’s understood together with his tempo he’s stepping into the fitting pockets, he will get the ball and drives.
“After all Raheem can enhance his ending, however Henry you may’t evaluate. Henry wasn’t dropping deep to get the ball and was not as wiry as Raheem or as sharp.
“However Henry may end and that was pure. It’s not one thing you may educate.”
Cole has additionally been impressed by the way in which Sterling has handled all of the issues thrown at him to succeed in his present stage.
Sterling has needed to endure racial abuse from the stands and received stick from England for his lacklustre performances early in his worldwide profession.
Regardless of being thought to be one of many world’s greatest left-backs and profitable a century of England caps, Cole was typically a goal for the boo boys too.
Tales about his wage calls for and his marriage to Cheryl did him no favours within the eyes of supporters so he is aware of precisely what Sterling has been by means of.
He stated: “You simply exit and play soccer. We’re paid and that is what we love. It’s about getting out on the pitch and proving individuals unsuitable with the ball at your toes. Raheem has finished that and gained followers over.
“He’s a footballer and he’s doing a terrific job at it.
“That’s what individuals really want to take a look at.”
Cole additionally believes Sterling will probably be an ideal function mannequin for the following bunch of youngsters coming by means of.
Former Metropolis trainee Jadon Sancho has admitted he seems as much as the ex-Liverpool man who’s now a Three Lions team-mate.
And Cole stated: “I see him inspiring the gamers coming by means of. The issues he went by means of and the way he dealt with it was good. Week in, week out, he’s on fireplace.
“There’s at all times a robust second, if you find yourself scoring objectives, enjoying effectively, within the limelight. And he can positively be somebody that everybody, not simply black gamers, look as much as and need to do higher.
“I believe the youthful ones coming by means of with England, individuals like Jadon Sancho, will probably be taking a look at him.
“They’ll be considering, ‘Proper, if I get my head down, work exhausting I can turn into one of many major gamers for England’. Raheem, for me, has nailed his spot down.”