Liverpool legend John Barnes warns Raheem Sterling against becoming another Theo Walcott

Liverpool legend John Barnes warns Raheem Sterling against becoming another Theo Walcott

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling must offer greater “end product” in order to avoid following Theo Walcott‘s footsteps.

Sterling is regarded as one of England’s finest young talents and that is why prompted City to spend £49 million on him from Liverpool back in 2015.

However, his career has somewhat stalled since moving to the Etihad, with the 22-year-old’s inconsistent performances proving to be an issue.

Sterling started this season like a house on fire and many felt Pep Guardiola’s arrival would continue to reap the dividends for the young talent throughout the campaign, but his form dipped yet again in a City shirt.

Barnes believes that whilst Sterling’s dribbling and pace are two key assets in his game, he needs to try and improve his end product.

“Towards the end of the season Raheem was on the bench,” Barnes told the Mirror. “Now they’ve signed Bernardo Silva so that’s an interesting development to see how that goes.

“Raheem has great potential. It’s effortless when he dribbles past players. He has to improve on things. His end product is going to be important.

“If Raheem was with Ronnie Moran he would say to him: ‘Yeah, you beat five players but then the ball goes over the bar.’ That’s instead of ‘You beat five players how great is that?’

“You have to be harder with them for them to understand the things they need to improve on. I think I’ve seen a marked improvement in Raheem’s end product since he’s been with Pep. His finishing, his passing is better.

“Look at Theo. He’s a great player who has had a fantastic career. But in terms of what we expected from a 17-year-old to 27, maybe he hasn’t developed as much as we’d hoped.

“Raheem is 22 but the difficulty is he’s also playing with a lot of inexperienced players. Having players like Kenny Sansom or a Gary Lineker to help you along the way is important.

“I could easily have thought ‘I’m at Liverpool, I’m a superstar’ but I had players I looked up to because of their seniority. At Watford, Wilf Rostron was there and he was kind of an Arsenal substitute.

“He played behind me but I didn’t think ‘I’m John Barnes’. Wilf said ‘do this or that’ and I did it. Now the emergence of the superstar youngster means they have to be careful.”

Sterling played in 33 league games this season for City, netting seven goals in the process and registering six assists.