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The metamorphosis of Raheem Sterling

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Raheem Sterling was the decisive factor once again as England thumped Bulgaria by four goals and the Manchester City man once again distinguished himself.

There was a time not long ago when Raheem Sterling was criticized for his lack of realism in front of goals. Today, the speedy forward is an indispensable part of The Three Lions.

It is definitely a long way away from the time when the Englishman was taunted by those observing England’s performances. In a bygone era during which the winger was ostracized for his lack of activity in front of goal, Raheem Sterling is definitely evolved into a player who is as deadly as they come in front of goal.

In 45 games for England, Sterling had found the net only twice which makes all the criticism he faced understandable.

This was a disastrous record for a player who has such great potential and had always been decisive for Manchester City.

But in recent weeks, Raheem Sterling has metamorphosed for the national teams and has become the driving force for England under Gareth Southgate. In his last seven appearances for the national team, the former Liverpool man has found the net seven times.

The game against Bulgaria on Saturday is a great indicator of how far the winger has come. First an assist for Harry Kane and then a goal for himself, Raheem Sterling constantly caused all sorts of problems to the Bulgarian defense.

And that wasn’t only due to his pace!

Sterling’s technical ability on the ball was on show too.

This is definitely the sort of player Manchester City have grown accustomed to – a man who makes clean passes and is always deadly on the break. Under Pep Guardiola, his stats don’t really suffer.

Since the start of the new season, Raheem Sterling has already found the net five times. Last season, he scored 17 and provided 12. Such form should be replicated regularly for the national team too. And now that the English setup is slowly evolving into a more attacking unit, Sterling is benefiting the most.

The performance against Bulgaria was no accident. Raheem Sterling has been showcasing his brilliance at club level for quite a while. It was only a matter of time for the player to emerge as the world beater for his national team.

Indeed, the more decisive he gets, the more England has a chance to actually go on and qualify for the Euros and then go ahead and beat all odds. This England team is a really exciting one to watch. With the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho on either flank, a deadly combination is what makes Harry Kane tick as well.

And Gareth Southgate is happy for his player too.

“He gave an incredible performance. When we worked with him two years ago, he was a dangerous player but he didn’t have that ultimate desire to score, to be decisive,” says his coach.

But now, Raheem Sterling is hungry for goals and it only bodes well for the national team.