Raheem Sterling may be starring for the blue side of Manchester these days, but when he was younger, the forward admits he was firmly a Red.
The 24-year-old Sterling enjoyed another brilliant season for Manchester City, scoring 17 goals and adding 10 assists in 34 Premier League games.
His production was essential as City not only followed up their record-setting 100-point campaign in 2017-18 with a 98-point effort, but also held off a ferocious challenge to their crown from Liverpool by a single point.
But despite starring with the Citizens, as well as Liverpool before them, Sterling admits he grew up a huge supporter of Manchester United.
“I was at the final in 2007,” Sterling told the Mirror. “I shouldn’t really say this — not now, definitely not now! — but when I was young I was a massive United fan. I had an old United kit, from when they won the last FA Cup.”
That experience, which came courtesy of a ticket provided as a gift from his school at the time, inspired Sterling’s decision to provide 550 tickets to City’s semi-final victory over Brighton to kids who attended the same school.
"To be in the stadium… it was incredible,”Sterling added. “It was unbelievable and that was when I tried to give the tickets to the school. That was motivated by that — being so close to the stadium and not going there more than once.
“If two or three of the kids could be inspired, then that’s all I was trying to do. Purely, that’s how I felt at the time.
"If there was a kid who had a chance of being a footballer, hopefully that will give them motivation or inspiration to change their dreams.”
Having been inspired by seeing the 2007 final in person, Sterling will now get the opportunity to take part in a FA Cup decider of his own as City face Watford on Saturday.
Should City win, Sterling and his team-mates will have achieved a domestic treble, having also taken the Carabao Cup and Premier League.