Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he kept Raheem Sterling on £2,000 per week for "as long as I could".
The 22-year-old winger made his breakthrough under Rodgers having risen through the academy at the club.
And as he emerged as one of England's most promising talents, Rodgers has admitted that he tried to keep him grounded by avoiding a significant salary increase.
“There is one common denominator when it comes to young players falling by the wayside – money,” the Northern Irish coach said, quoted by the Daily Express. “It distorts reality. It changes people. I’m always cautious of that.
“I had Raheem Sterling playing for England and a regular in the Liverpool first team on £2000 per week. I couldn’t do it any longer than about the November time because he was absolutely brilliant, so we had to get him on a different contract. But I stretched it out as long as I could.
“With young players, one, they have to earn it and, two, you don’t go overboard with them because they have played a couple of good games.
“Stay calm. See how consistent and professional they are, and if they are doing well they will always get rewarded.
“Let them get some games in their legs and go from there.”
It wasn't long before Sterling had secured himself another significant pay-rise, joining Manchester City for £45m in 2015 having failed to negotiate a new deal with Liverpool.
The 22-year-old has scored three Premier League goals so far this season, from four appearances.