Shaun Wright-Phillips says that Raheem Sterling has proven to be the "perfect role model" for young players, despite the fact that the Manchester City star is still a "baby" himself.
Sterling was one of City's top players this season as the England star fired 17 goals while providing 10 assists during the team's Premier League title-winning campaign.
Meanwhile, the winger has also become one of the game's loudest voices when it comes to combating racism, having recently revealed that he wants to meet with the English FA and Premier League leaders in an effort to discuss the issue.
And Wright-Phillips says that level of maturity is hard to find in a young footballer, and that's what makes Sterling one to look up to.
"I’ve been very impressed with Sterling this year, both on and off the pitch, and he has shown that he is the perfect role model for a new kid coming through. He has seen what it takes, he has gone and done it and dealt with the bad stuff that has come with it, that he never even had a say in," Wright-Phillips told AmericanGambler.com.
"People forget that Sterling is still young, in footballing terms he’s still a baby. He’s meant to be learning but he’s dealing with things that a more experienced pro should be dealing with, and doing it perfectly. He’s answered everything in the right way by letting his football do the talking. It’s very powerful what he has done."
Racism continues to be a problem across the footballing landscape, with Sterling one of several players calling for harsher punishments for offenders.
Danny Rose, Sterling's England team-mate, says that he has "had enough" of racist taunting and can't wait to retire because of how prevalent the abuse is in the game.
Wright-Phillips says he understands how hard it is to properly eradicate racism, but he does believe that banning fans is a good place to start.
"To an extent I agree that the FA hasn’t done that much to tackle the problem of racism, but it’s hard to police racism for the FA. How do they police it? Unless someone makes people aware of what has happened within a stadium, the FA would never know that it is happening," he said.
"I would just ban the fans. I think it’s everywhere and it’s just whether it comes out or not – some people get ahead of themselves and it just comes out.
"When I say ban the fans, not to punish people, but so that fans will start policing it themselves. I don’t want to bring my kid to a stadium and sit next to somebody who is shouting racist chants, because it’s going to make kids think that it’s okay to do it. It’s not only affecting players, but it is affecting kids that are growing up now, and are going to be bringing their kids in future.
"It needs to be nipped in the bud somewhere, and I would just ban those fans for life, and don’t allow them into any football stadium in England."