Raheem Sterling is “right at the top of the tree” alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, says Trevor Sinclair, with the in-form Manchester City winger now worth at least £200 million ($247m).
At 24 years of age, the England international is considered to have taken his game to new heights.
Consistency has been added under the guidance of Pep Guardiola at club level, while end product is being delivered as a talismanic presence for his country.
Sterling, who was once an easy target for critics, has recorded 48 goals across the last two seasons with City, with another six added to his tally this term in just five appearances.
He is also helping to fire England towards Euro 2020, with the target found six times in qualifying, and is said to be on course to match the standards set by two five-time Ballon d’Or winners.
Former City and Three Lions star Sinclair told talkSPORT: “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 [against Bulgaria] 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.”
Sterling, after netting for England against Bulgaria and Kosovo, will be back in domestic action on Saturday when reigning Premier League champions City travel to Norwich.