Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has welcomed the increased competition for places heralded by the signings of Leroy Sane and Spanish wide forward Nolito.
Sterling, who was subjected to widespread criticism by a section of his country’s fans after England’s dismal performance at the European Championship in France this summer, seems a player reborn under new manager Pep Guardiola.
The former Liverpool winger was named the Premier League’s player of the month for August with a goal and two assists in City’s first three matches and is confident his strong form will see him hold on to his starting place.
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“It raises any players’ game when there’s four or five players who can play your position,” Sterling, 20, said.
“You always want to be on the pitch, not in the stands.”
Sterling was substituted for Sane after an hour in the Manchester derby on Saturday and agreed the 20-year-old Germany international had impressed on his debut after shrugging off a hamstring injury.
“Leroy’s come in and he’s a really good guy who I speak to a lot but obviously he plays the same position,” Sterling said. “Hopefully we can both be on the pitch at the same time but we have to work hard and show why we deserve to be involved.”
Sterling said he was happy to play in whatever position Guardiola asked him to after being switched from his favoured right flank to the left to accommodate Nolito.
“My favourite position is on the left but I’m happy to play anywhere across the front three,” he said.
“Since Day 1 the manager has tried to up the team spirit. Last year we were all close but now we’re closer than ever.”
City, who are top of the Premier League standings with four wins from four games, kick off their Uefa Champions League campaign against Germany’s Borussia Moenchengladbach later on Tuesday.
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