By TTT Subscriber Dave Cronin.
This was originally a comment by Dave. as it’s so topical and so good, we decided to turn it onto a Subscriber-only article in its own right. If you missed it the first time, here’s your chance to catch it again.
I hate all this talk about Sterling’s contract. It’s quite an emotive issue with words like ‘disloyalty’ and ‘greed’ being bandied about. Listening to his BBC interview (which frankly I wish he hadn’t given), it strikes me that this is a complex issue.
Here’s what strikes me as the key complexities…
With us not one of us?
In that BBC interview (hear it here), it strikes me how Raheem refers to “the team” and “this football club” rather than “my team” or “Liverpool football club”. It may be over-analysis on my part, but I sense a detachment there. Steven Gerrard he is not. But why should he be? Raheem is not a local lad. He was not a product of our academy; he was plucked from QPR. He has never claimed to have been a boyhood Liverpool supporter. Why should he have more allegiance to Liverpool Football Club than to QPR or any other team?
Plenty of players who weren’t local lads, academy products or boyhood supporters have struck a bond with our club. Think Sami Hyypia, Dirk Kuyt, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, Didi Hamann, Luis Suarez and so on. Does Sterling feel a bond with our supporters? Does he feel the love from the stands? Does he hear his name chanted or celebrated in song? Does he get a louder than average cheer when the teams are read out?
I don’t think he does. For whatever reason, I don’t believe the chemistry is there. It feels like from virtually his breakthrough, Liverpool supporters have had overly high expectations of Sterling and shown little patience. From suggesting Ibe was the better prospect to criticising his goal return and all round contribution this season, I just don’t feel people really appreciate Sterling as a Liverpool player.
We should. He’s really good and he could be one of the stars of the League in the future. That’s a key point in assessing what he is worth. We’re not just investing in what he is now but trying to secure a star of the future.
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