Raheem Sterling has had an interesting few months outside of participating deep into the 2018 World Cup.
The agenda that it seems like certain tabloids have had against the Englishman came to a head prior to the beginning of the tournament, as pundits and fans alike accused those outlets of unfairly singling him out, and among other things, racism.
Sterling set sail for Russia as part of the England squad with a groundswell of support as a result.
His performances have been a major talking point of the tournament so far though, despite England’s success thus far in reaching the semi finals. The winger has been a nuisance for opponents, making non-stop runs, playing a part in numerous attacks, but his finishing has left a lot to be desired (to be hyper-critical, some decision making also, though that comes with the territory for any attacker).
Harry Kane has all the goals, but Raheem Sterling has been England's best attacking player in the World Cup. He plays a vital role progressing the ball so Eng can get all those corners and FKs.
He's also NOT a bad finisher, just a bit unlucky in the WC so far. pic.twitter.com/CFBwjDdeSn
— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) July 8, 2018
Lot of talk about Raheem Sterling. So let's talk about the fact that Sterling never hid, that he never stopped running, that he's a class act with many gifts as he's showed countless times in recent years. Not his best game against #swe but he remains an important player for #eng
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) July 7, 2018
These often high-profile moments amongst other important contributions have led to Sterling frequently being ranked bottom of the BBC’s player rating system by fans, and being on the receiving end of criticism, some of which Gary Neville has called disgusting.
“The actual treatment at half-time of [Sterling] across social media was absolutely disgusting, and isn’t representative of the performance he put in”, he said on ITV.
“To run in-behind Granqvist all that time, he kept getting in and getting in. OK, we didn’t have the cherry on the cake, the goal, where all of a sudden you’re a hero, but it was a brilliant performance.”
“Every player deserves to be applauded. We as a country are united and behind the team.”
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) July 8, 2018