Manchester City's maligned Raheem Sterling draws praise from Pep Guardiola
Raheem Sterling has got his season off to an impressive start at Manchester City—and new manager Pep Guardiola may be the reason why.
Guardiola called the midfielder a "fantastic player" after Man City's 5-0 thrashing of Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League playoff first-leg match on Tuesday, when Sterling set up two goals and looked dangerous both on and off the ball.
"He's fast, has a good work ethic, can play right or left, go out to the line or go in the middle," Guardiola said.
That display came just three days after Sterling also impressed in City's 2-1 home win against Sunderland in the English Premier League. Sterling won a penalty kick for his side with Guardiola praising his "amazing" efforts.
Sterling's performances have been in stark contrast to his disappointing displays for England in this year's European Championship in France, where he was criticized for poor finishing and inconsistency.
But Sterling, who moved from Liverpool in 2015 for 49 million pounds ($64 million), is flourishing under Guardiola, whose style of management appears to suit the player.
But the timing of Guardiola's arrival may be coincidental with the 21-year-old Sterling naturally improving anyway. Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry defended the winger during Euro 2016, saying he has "a great future but he is not the finished article — people are treating him like he is the finished article."
City fans will be hoping that Guardiola can provide that finishing touch.