The Liverpool winger, who has returned to both form and the first team, says he was too in awe of the Reds’ senior stars previously
Raheem Sterling has credited his return to form with renewed confidence in his abilities, having been overawed by some of Liverpool’s star players.
The 19-year-old, who has returned to the first team after a dip in form, says he was too eager to offload the ball – and responsibility – to the senior players on the team.
But after his uncle highlighted how he had reverted from his natural game, Sterling says he has gone back to basics and is reaping the rewards.
“He knows my game and he asked the club for a couple of DVDs from last season when I’d played well. He wanted to show me the difference,” the winger told the club’s official.
“Last season, I’d have beaten a man in two touches and raced away. Suddenly, I was going safe, passing to someone else. I didn’t realise I was doing it.
“I just said to myself that I had to step up and start running at defenders again; taking responsibility. I’ve also had the chance to do that week in, week out. I can feel a bit of momentum now.
“I wasn’t confident enough to have a shot myself and instead I’d pass it to someone like Luis Suarez. I needed to be more confident again – you have to respect the senior players around you but you have to stamp your own mark on the game.”
Manager Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, believes it is only natural that a player as young as Sterling should experience peaks as well as troughs, and praised the England Under-21 international’s desire to work hard and return to form.
“It’s difficult when you have a young player at 17 and they burst onto the scene like Raheem did through his sheer natural talent,” said the Liverpool boss.
“He came into the spotlight and in those first six months, he was outstanding.
“But it happens to every single player; there’s going to be a drop-off period for them. And for him, it was probably the second half of last season. But he came in over the course of pre-season and he worked tirelessly.
“He was bright and he was given a chance this year, which he took. He’s only just turned 19 years of age. I think you’re seeing now a boy that is very focused on his football and he’s happy, which is important.”