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World Cup player focus #7: Raheem Sterling

ENGLISH STERLING: Analysing Raheem Sterling's international stats...

ENGLISH STERLING: Analysing Raheem Sterling's international stats...

We continue our World Cup player profiles with City's English forward Raheem Sterling....

RUSSIA 2018: City players' Group stage schedule

Squad role: Admired for his pace and direct approach, Raheem Sterling is a key component in the Three Lions' attacking contingent.

Operating either alongside or just behind the main striker, the forward is employed in a more central role than he occupies at club level.

Mainly utilised on the right wing, he enjoyed a superb season with City - both on a collective and individual basis - helping the Blues to a third Premier League title and League Cup success, bagging 23 goals and creating 17 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions.

Though yet to score, the 23-year-old has made his mark in Russia already, claiming an assist in the 6-1 triumph over Panama with a neat flick into the path of Jesse Lingard. He was also involved in John Stones' second goal of the game, seeing his header well-saved by Jaime Penedo before his teammate converted the rebound.

England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken of the 'major role' Sterling holds in his plans, also hailing his mental strength as a vital and commendable trait.

READ: World Cup Player Focus #5: Kevin De Bruyne

SEASON TO REMEMBER: Raheem Sterling enjoyed a magnificent campaign for Manchester City

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Raheem Sterling: Best of 2017/18

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International highlights: Since making his international debut in November 2012, Sterling has clocked up 40 appearances for his country.

This summer's tournament in Russia is his second World Cup, having been included in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for the 2014 competition. He made three appearances.

He has netted two goals for England's senior side (both in 2015) but has experienced scoring in a World Cup with the Three Lions' Under-17s with a memorable effort against Rwanda at the 2011 tournament in Mexico.

He created three assists during qualification for the current World Cup and has created seven in total during his senior international career.

Men's Team

All eyes on Spain and Portugal

CRUNCH TIME: Bernardo Silva and David Silva are both set to be in World Cup action later today

With the 2018 World Cup finals having officially passed the halfway point, the business end of the tournament gets under way later today as the group stages start to reach a conclusion.

The action hots up at Russia 2018 as Spain and Portugal look to seal their places in the last-16

Media Watch

Media Watch: Stones reveals World Cup inspiration

WORLD BEATER: John Stones is saluted by his England colleagues after scoring his second goal against Panama

It’s the morning after England’s biggest-ever win at the World Cup finals so it’s no surprise to find the Three Lions’ 6-1 demolition job on Panama hogging the headlines.

All the latest from Monday's back pages...

Men's Team

Stones at the double as England hit Panama for six

STAR ON SUNDAY: John Stones starts to celebrate with his England colleagues after heading home his first goal against Panama

Manchester City defender John Stones scored a superb brace of goals as England powered through to the last-16 of the World Cup finals with a 6-1 thumping of Panama.

Manchester City defender heads in brace of goals as England hit Panama for six to seal place in last-16 of the World Cup finals