Trevor Sinclair believes England’s man of the moment Raheem Sterling is already on the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine maestro and Portuguese hitman have been head and shoulders above the rest for more than a decade, with two prolific careers that will go down in sporting, not just football, history.
But Sinclair believes the Manchester City forward is now right up there with the Barcelona and Juventus superstars, should be worth £200million in today’s market and could become England’s greatest ever player.
Despite facing widespread criticism throughout his career, most notably when he left Liverpool for Man City for £50m in 2015 and also during last summer’s World Cup, Sterling has proven his critics wrong with his sensational attacking form over the last few years.
His numbers speak for themselves, and there is little doubt he has become a key player for club and country.
Raheem Sterling in numbers:
– Nine seasons in the Premier League
– 98 goals in 325 career appearances
– 75 goals in 196 Premier League appearances
– 17/18 season: 23 goals in 46 appearances
– 18/19 season: 25 goals in 51 appearances
– 19/20 season: Six goals in five appearances so far
– Eight goals and five assists in nine games for England since World Cup
Sancho joins ‘Almost Arsenal XI’ as Wenger says he tried to sign him from City
Bowyer on Huddersfield offer, advice from a Leeds legend and life at Charlton
Chelsea ‘have agreement’ with European giants over possible transfer
Pogba ‘agreed huge deal’ to leave Man United but move failed because of one man
Tottenham open to swapping Eriksen for Juventus star in January
Zaha axes agent after Crystal Palace star fails to seal Arsenal or Everton transfer
Solskjaer faces selection crisis as six injured stars could miss Leicester clash
‘I had contact from Man United’ – 50-goal forward confirms Red Devils talks
Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White on Wednesday, he said: “Raheem Sterling is right at the top of the tree, for me. If he’s not worth £200m now, I’d be surprised.
“He’s the best player playing for England and he’s the first player on the team sheet for Pep Guardiola.
“The big question now is where do you put him with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo? I would put him right amongst them. He’s there now.
“The only difference, and he can’t do anything about it, is time. They’ve been doing it and are still doing it for 15 years and he’s only just started.
“But if he continues in this form he’s showing, people are going to start talking about him being the best player in the world and I think he’s deserved that honour.
“If you look at other players who have gone for big money and you look at what they bring to the table, the goals, the assists, the way they conduct themselves off the field – he’s right up there with the very best in the world.
“I watched him on Saturday and he was walking around and conserving his energy, exactly like Messi does for Barcelona every week, and then as soon as he sees a scenario developing he is absolutely electric, he comes alive.
“His end product and decision making and productivity he brings to England and Manchester City is so consistent, he’s got to be regarded as one of the best players in the world.”
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is getting the best out of a player that netted his eighth England goal in as many appearances in Tuesday’s man-of-the-match display against Kosovo.
Harry Kane says England can beat France, Spain and Holland
The forward also shone in Saturday’s 4-0 defeat of Bulgaria and his international manager believes the only way is up.
“There are moments where the team were ahead by three or four and it’s possible to look outstanding, but in both games, at 0-0, at 1-0 down, at key moments of the game, he’s just grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck,” Southgate said after the 5-3 win at St Mary’s.
“When there was no space at Wembley, he was the one that was able to open things up, so I couldn’t speak highly enough of the quality of his performance.
“He’s just a player that’s playing full of confidence, wants to be involved in everything, showing real maturity around the camp.
“I think that he is becoming a big influence with some of the other leaders in terms of how we do things.
“And for me it’s lovely to see the shift in the public opinion of him. We have always picked him.
“There have been times where he has not played well and we have taken him off and that has been the right thing, but he has always been integral to the way we want to play.
“But his performance is at the highest level we’ve had since we have been with him, really.”