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Man City star Sterling deserves all praise for desire to improve, says Guardiola

00:58 BST 25/08/2019
Raheem Sterling - cropped
The wide-man has started the season in superb form for the Premier League champions, and his coach thinks his improvement is due to his desire

Pep Guardiola appreciates Raheem Sterling's willingness to listen but insists the Manchester City star's development into a world-class player is entirely of his own making. 

England international Sterling has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most dangerous attackers under Guardiola's stewardship. 

The former Liverpool winger scored 18 and 17 goals in successive title-winning campaigns and boasts four in two appearances this term, including a hat-trick against West Ham on the opening weekend. 

Guardiola believes it will be tough for Sterling to beat out-and-out strikers to the Golden Boot but praised his appetite for improvement. 

"I think he's a better player, like I said last season. It's all [to] his credit, his desire to be better," Guardiola said. 

"I think every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group... he's a guy who is incredibly receptive when we have our talks, when Mikel [Arteta, City first-team coach] speaks with him or myself. 

"It's nice, when they don't get that feeling like 'oh, always pushing me or criticising me'. 

"He's open. From day one since we arrived. That's why he's becoming an incredible, exceptional player. 

"After that his physicality [is excellent], he plays every three days and no injuries. He runs a lot and his genetics are so strong. It's good." 

Sterling's fast start to the season sees him in second place in the fledgling Golden Boot race behind Norwich City's Teemu Pukki. 

Some pundits are tipping him to lead the scoring charts at the end of the season, but Guardiola thinks that will be tough, despite his acknowledgement of Sterling's abilities to sniff out opportunities to score from his wide berth. 

"Normally for a winger to score goals and be top scorer, it is not easy because they play further away from the goal," the ex-Barcelona and Bayern boss added. 

"He has an incredible sense of arriving in the box and scoring when the ball is on the other side. He is fantastic at that.

"When he plays more central all his movement is towards the goal and for a winger that is incredible.

"Some players play well but they forget the ball is there.

"He always has the sense of where the ball will be and will attack there because if it arrives, he will score a goal."