The 18-year-old earned his first senior England cap soon after bursting onto the scene at Anfield, but insists he remains realistic about his need to keep improving
Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling insists does not feel he has “made it” at Anfield yet, despite enjoying a breakthrough year at the club.
The 18-year-old has undergone a meteoric recent rise, having made 23 Premier League appearances this term and earning his first England cap during a November friendly against Sweden.
However, the former QPR youth product says he knows he must keep improving, and is willing to accept his place on the bench following the January arrivals of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.
“I’ve had to do quite a bit of growing up, to keep my head down, and I understand completely I haven’t made it yet – as a young player you’ve just got to keep working hard all the time,” he said.
“I understand the situation, and hopefully I can get on the bench and then make an impact coming off the bench. That is the way to keep progressing, to try and get a chance and then to take it.
“I don’t feel an added pressure. I can’t try and overdo it. I’ve got to play my normal game and hopefully that will work out.”
Sterling has scored just two league goals so far this term, and revealed that his shooting is one of many areas he is working on.
“I’ve been in the gym a few times a week. Size isn’t an issue as long as you can hold your own on the pitch, but I am working hard to improve all the time,” he added.
“I want to work on my long-distance shooting and my decision making. I want to make the first team grade, because I think everyone who plays for Liverpool has to pinch themselves now and again.
“It’s a dream come true for all the players. You’ve got to realise that it’s real, kick on with it, work hard and try to do your best for the football club.”
The winger was born in Jamaica but chose to represent England at international level having moved to London at the age of five – a decision he says he remains comfortable with.
“I grew up playing for England’s youth teams and it just didn’t seem right to switch,” he said.
“I want to continue my education with England – I’m really grateful for what they have done for me.”
Sterling has not abandoned his homeland, however, and is intent on using his new-found wealth to invest in community projects.
“When I go to Jamaica in the summer I’m looking to pay for two primary schools in my area, for the whole school’s school fees and their lunch money for the year,” he explained.
“I went last summer. Everyone is living okay but not everyone has it easy – their mums and dads have to work hard for it.
“If I can chip in and help, that would be good.”