Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has told Raheem Sterling that he should be “grateful” to Liverpool for helping him to establish himself as a professional footballer before his departure from Anfield in 2015.
The winger left for Manchester City in a £49m transfer five years ago and has since won two Premier League titles and eight trophies in total, having reportedly turned down a £100,000-a-week contract at Anfield and refused to join the Reds’ pre-season tour before his move.
Sterling recently claimed to still have a love for his former club in an Instagram Q&A for Colossal Sports Management, the agency with whom he is affiliated, and did not rule out a possible Anfield return in the future (as per Daily Mail). However, Whelan doesn’t see Liverpool making a move for him any time soon and feels that the 25-year-old owes a debt of gratitude to the Reds for giving him his senior debut in 2012:
He told Football Insider: “I do not think they will consider bringing him back while they have got Salah and Mane there. They have brought through some fantastic players from their youth sides.
“Raheem Sterling should be very grateful to Liverpool for the way he was brought up and coached there. He was in a privileged position to learn from these guys. Sterling is blessed with ability there is no doubt but he should be grateful to where he started off his career. He owes a lot to Liverpool.
“Yes, you would buy him but right now is not the right time. Liverpool will be looking elsewhere to strengthen.”
Whelan is right in saying that Sterling should not forget what Liverpool did for his professional career prior to his 2015 move to Manchester City. A decade ago, the Reds took a leap of faith in signing him from QPR when he was only 15 and Kenny Dalglish handed him a first team debut at the tender age of 17 in a Premier League clash at home to Wigan.
Rather than sending him out on loan, Dalglish’s successor Brendan Rodgers kept him at Liverpool and gave him regular appearances in the 2012/13 season before Sterling came into his own the following year with nine Premier League goals as the Reds narrowly missed out on the title. When Liverpool offered him £100,000 per week in 2015, the winger was still only 20 and was already on £35,000-a-week, so the club’s faith in him was substantial given his tender years.
Sterling has gone on to claim regular silverware at Manchester City and score 89 goals for the club, along with winning 56 England caps before his 25th birthday, so his move to the Etihad Stadium has worked out favourably. However, as Whelan has rightly said, he should always be thankful to Liverpool for setting him on his way towards a successful professional career.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Whelan’s remarks about Sterling? Comment below with your views!