Football News

“The hand of Pep” – Pedro praises Guardiola for turning Sterling into a goal scorer

By CJ Smith

Raheem Sterling

Published: 16:50, 21 September 2019

Chelsea winger Pedro has praised the role played by Pep Guardiola in turning Raheem Sterling into a goalscorer.

By the end of Guardiola’s first season in charge at Manchester City, Sterling had scored just 44 goals in 223 career appearances for the Citizens and Liverpool combined.

Sterling’s goalscoring turnaround: Five things to know…

  • Sterling scored just 10 goals in 47 games during Guardiola’s first season at City.
  • Since then, he’s bagged 54 goals in 102 appearances for the English champions.
  • Sterling has also scored six goals in six caps for England in 2019.
  • Pedro believes Guardiola has played a key role in unlocking Sterling’s talents.
  • Former Barca midfielder Xavi believes the Englishman will become the world’s best.

However, the England international has transformed himself into a potent goalscorer and has now bagged 54 goals in 102 appearances across all competitions since the start of the 2017/18 season.

Sterling has kicked off the new campaign in real style with six goals in five games at club level – as well as a further two for England – and Pedro believes that although players must have their own desire to score, Guardiola has had a huge hand in this rapid development.

“It is something that comes from within,” he said.

“I think it does depend on the player and the situation. But it’s about following the play, knowing where the ball is going to fall.

“A great manager can show you how to find goals, but it’s evidently something you have to have; a drive to score.

“I had it with Pep, and a practical example now is with [Raheem] Sterling. He was a player who didn’t score many goals and now he’s a great scorer, because Guardiola was behind him, indicating the movements to get inside, rather than being outside like he was earlier. I say this because I know it well. I know those types of movements, how they work and come off.

“Sterling is now, without doubt, a player who scores goals, who makes the difference. I think that’s a little bit the hand of Pep.”

Xavi: Sterling can become best in the world

Pedro isn’t the only one of Guardiola’s former Barcelona stars to heap the praise on Sterling, with legendary midfielder Xavi tipping the 24-year-old to take the mantle of “best in the world” once Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire.

In fact, Xavi even rates Sterling high enough to tip him for that title ahead of the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah.

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“Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the best-player-in-the-world awards for so many years now, it’s hard to remember a time before them,” he said.

“Messi is the best ever for me – and even though they’re both still playing at a very high level – there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes.

“You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, Mbappe, Salah, and of course Sterling. I look at the moment – and Sterling is winning that race.”