Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling’s willingness to embrace the advice of his coaches is responsible for the winger’s transformation into one of the Premier League’s most clinical marksmen.
Sterling has become increasingly prolific with each passing season and his development has been one of the most striking aspects of the Catalan’s City tenure.
The 24-year-old has made a flying start to the 2019/20 campaign, netting four goals in two league games and Guardiola believes he is deserving of all the plaudits coming his way because he is a joy to coach.
“I think he’s a better player,” said the City boss. “His desire to be better is a credit to him.
“Every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group. After that it is about his desire to be better, to improve his skills and to talk about him.
“He reacts incredibly to our talks, when Mikel [Arteta] speaks to him or myself. That’s nice, when they don’t feel like we are pushing or criticising them.
“He is open [to advice]. He has been from day one. That’s why he is an incredible, exceptional player.”
Sterling’s prolific start has led many to consider whether he can contend for the Premier League golden boot.
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He hit a career best 25 goals last season and while Guardiola admits it will always be difficult for a wide player to take the crown, he feels Sterling’s goal scoring instincts set him apart from other wingers.
“Normally, for a winger to score goals and be top scorer, it is not easy because they play further away from the goal,” Guardiola added.
“He has an incredible sense of arriving in the box and scoring when the ball is on the opposite 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.”