Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has hailed Reds coach Brendan Rodgers’ role in his development but insists he has not changed his natural game.
The 18-year-old has featured in every one of the Merseyside outfit’s Premier League fixtures this season after missing out on the opening day defeat to West Brom.
And Sterling has claimed that his first-team breakthrough is down to the fact that his qualities mesh perfectly with the Northern Irishman’s ideas for the team.
“I’ve learned so much from Brendan Rodgers, we have a good relationship. But I haven’t changed my game so much,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I just always try to play good football. The one and two-touch stuff has always been in me and when I get in the final third, I want to take players on. That fits in well with what the manager wants.”
The Jamaica-born wideman went on to state that he understands he will be fouled regularly as one of the Premier League’s trickiest players and named Branislav Ivanovic as one of his most intimidating opponents.
He explained: “I know I get kicked a lot but I didn’t know I was one of the most fouled players in the league. If that’s what it takes and we get free-kicks, I will take getting the kicks.
“The scariest to play against was Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. He wasn’t dirty, the guy is just a tank! A big guy, big upper body, big lower body. A real tank.
“But it’s always happened, I’ve always played above my age group, with bigger guys, but I love the challenge. With the physicality, I had to learn new tricks, learn to outsmart my opponent.”
The former QPR trainee made his England debut in a November friendly clash with Sweden, but is keen to keep his feet on the ground following a meteoric rise over the last year.
He continued: “It’s been a great journey. Everything kind of changed overnight. Now it has become a nightmare to go into town. I know it is ultimately a good thing, though. For anyone my age it is a real honour to play for such a big club.
“You can’t listen to what people say. You want to hear positive but at some point you will hear negative. You have to blank it all out. Whatever they say, I know what I need to do to get better as a player and in my life.
“On the pitch, I couldn’t ask for better people around me at Liverpool, like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez who have been there and done it.
“They have lived their whole life as a professional on and off the field. I take stuff from their game, from the way they are, and I try and take that on. I would never relax on what I have done so far.“