Sterling has made more appearances than any other player since the Catalan took charge at the Etihad Stadium, but has started three of City’s opening 10 games this season.
Boasting a squad packed with world class talent, Guardiola admits that leaving players out of his starting XI is an inevitable part of his role as manager.
“I want the best for Raheem when he plays,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of City’s game against Burnley.
“I have no doubt what an important player he is for us. There is no doubt.
“We cannot say Phil is a bad player, Jack is a bad player, Raz is a bad player, Riyad is a bad player. Ferran, every time he plays scores goals and Gabriel, what he gives us as a team and Bernardo can play up front as well. That is the reality.”
Guardiola also lifted the lid on his approach to selection as he revealed he does not take City’s past success into consideration when picking his team.
The manager believes it is imperative that he treats all players equally, no matter how experienced they may be, as he called on his squad to prove themselves in every training session and game.
“What you did in the past is the past,” he added.
“Cole Palmer is the same as any player of the seniors who have been here five, six, seven years here.
“It’s important what you do tomorrow, not the four Carabao Cups, three Premier Leagues in four years, or the final of Champions League last season. It’s not important, it’s the past.
“I don’t select the players on how they play in the past. It's today, how you train today and how you will play tomorrow.
“I cannot assure them game time. Any of them. They have to prove themselves.”