As Manchester City left the Etihad pitch on Wednesday night following their 5-0 thumping of Newcastle United, it was David Silva who took all the plaudits.
Two assists and a goal for the Spaniard rightly drew praise from all sides but it was just another night at the office for one Raheem Sterling.
The England international got on the scoresheet again despite only coming onto the field in the 61st minute. That goal takes his tally for the season to 24 goals in 44 games in all competitions and 14 in the Premier League.
At 25 years old, Sterling is now sitting on 80 Premier League goals for his career – just 20 off the prestigious 100 club that Jamie Vardy joined last week. For a wide man his numbers are extraordinary. In his last 141 games for Man City he has scored 71 goals, numbers that pre-Ronaldo and Messi would have been talked about much more.
He’s been playing regular first team football since the age of 16 for Liverpool and overcame an insane amount of criticism from the media and from fans when he left the club in a £49million deal. Even for England, his performances have been heavily criticised. Yet he continues to represent his country well and has seen his performances improve greatly under Gareth Southgate in the new, more modern set-up.
Under Guardiola he has cemented his place as the first-choice forward player. Whether that be on the left-wing, with Mahrez or Bernardo Silva on the right or on the right wing previously with Leroy Sane on the left, he has remained the constant for Pep. He’s even been the go-to so often when Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus have been unavailable as the central striker or false 9. That versatility is what has seen him linked with clubs like Real Madrid in the past.
His off-field behaviour is stellar too. He has become to face of the anti-racism movement amongst footballers after publicly calling it out over social media and is generally looked at now as a model professional for youngsters coming up to aspire to be like.
He has two Premier League winners medals and all the domestic trophies in England to his name already. If Manchester City can be successful in the Champions League this season, he will have a hall of fame career for a winger at the ripe age of 25. At that point, it could be time to try something new abroad at either Real Madrid or Barcelona to see if he can take his career global.
Whether he does that or not is irrelevant though. We need to start admiring Raheem Sterling more for what he is doing right now. We need to start recognising that we could very well be witnessing greatness happening right in front of our eyes.