Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola praised Raheem Sterling’s development into a world-class player and gave the winger full credit for it.
Sterling has thrived under Guardiola over the past three years at City and is now, arguably, one of the Premier League’s best players.
The former Liverpool star has got off to a resounding start this season, with five goals to his name in just three appearances. He even bagged a hat-trick during City’s opening day 5-0 win at West Ham United on August 10.
Despite his own involvement in Sterling’s stunning progress, however, Guardiola believes the 24-year-old deserves all the plaudits.
“I think he’s a better player, like I said last season. It’s all [to] his credit, his desire to be better,” said Guardiola, according to Goal.
“I think every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group… he’s a guy who is incredibly receptive when we have our talks, when Mikel [Arteta, City first-team coach] speaks with him or myself.
“It’s nice, when they don’t get that feeling like ‘oh, always pushing me or criticising me’.
“He’s open. From day one since we arrived. That’s why he’s becoming an incredible, exceptional player.
“After that his physicality [is excellent], he plays every three days and no injuries. He runs a lot and his genetics are so strong. It’s good.”
Benjamin Mendy, meanwhile, has returned to training for City as he continues his recovery from another serious knee injury.
“Yes, if he’s fit he’ll have success,” Guardiola said on the full-back.
“He has a special quality. Right now I’m happy. I don’t want to say any big words, but I’m satisfied because for two weeks, the day after training sessions, he feels good.
“He doesn’t feel pain and that’s good.
“I think he’s training well. The people from Barcelona [where Mendy underwent surgery in November] told me he’s working incredibly, like an animal.
“Hopefully, he can maintain that because it’s not one day, it’s not one week. It’s every day doing that.”
City will take a trip to Bournemouth this afternoon for their next Premier League match. Kick-off at the Vitality Stadium will begin at 15:00 (CET).