'From golden boy to written off' - Sterling admits to career low at Man City

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The England international arrived at the Etihad Stadium with a big reputation and admits to having found the going tough during a testing spell

Raheem Sterling admits to having experienced a career low at Manchester City, with the "golden boy" of English football being written off for club and country shortly after his big-money move.

The England international swapped the red of Liverpool for the blue of the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2015.

A £44 million ($55m) deal took him from one giant in the north west to another, with big things expected of an emerging talent.

Sterling was, however, to make slow start at City before enduring a testing run through Euro 2016 with the Three Lions.

He concedes that he found the going tough, telling British GQ of his lowest ebb: "Probably my first season at City, purely because I came in excited for my move here and then it went from ‘This kid is going to be the next whatever’ and before making a mark I was written off.

"I was the golden boy six, seven, eight months before that, a big-money move, and it’s kind of switched without even hitting a ball. Before I’ve even done anything it’s just ‘He’s not good enough’. I was like, what’s going on?"

Sterling has learned from that experience, saying when asked if the criticism had got to him: "At first it did because I was 19, it was my first time as a professional football player and it’s a learning curve.

"Now you can say or do what you want and I wouldn’t take it in."

Detractors have been silenced in style by Sterling, with 48 goals recorded for City across the last two seasons and Premier League titles having been secured in each of them.

He has flourished under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, with the Catalan coach considered to have been key in unlocking consistency in Sterling's game.

The England star said of his club boss: "He’s demanding, but it’s good.

"It makes you want to do better and – I don’t know how to explain this – makes you want to prove to him and show him every time you go on the field you’re playing for your position in his team, because of the numbers we have and the quality we have as well."

Sterling is also benefitting from having so-called leaders around him at City, adding: "On the pitch, we’re not a shouting team, like, ‘Come on, guys’.

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"The team is super relaxed in the dressing room, so chilled. There’s not a lot of shouting. Vinny, of course, the skipper, Fernandinho. But not everyone in the dressing room is shouting. We’re more chilled and when we get out on the pitch we do the talking."

City certainly did that last season, with Guardiola’s side securing an historic clean sweep of domestic honours as they collected a Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup treble.

Full interview in August’s British GQ, available on newsstands and digital download on Friday.

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