Raheem Sterling is hoping to continue his fine form with England in the UEFA Nations League semi-final against Holland on Thursday evening.
The PFA Young Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Player of the Year is set to earn his 50th cap against the Dutch after a stunning season with City.
And reaching the half-century milestone for the Three Lions is something the 24-year-old forward never imagined possible in his younger years.
“I grew up watching a lot of England games and I always had a dream to play for my country, but I never imagined I’d one day be on the verge of my 50th cap,” said Sterling.
“If the manager picks me and I do play against Holland, it will be a massive achievement for me and for my family and something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
“If I was to give myself advice at this point it would be: Keep going, keep enjoying your football and keep learning.”
England’s World Cup semi-final appearance was a bittersweet experience for Sterling who believes it is time for this generation of players to start winning silverware after a 53-year wait since the 1966 World Cup triumph.
“With the national team, it’s time for us to start challenge for some trophies and we have a great belief we can do that with the squad of players we have a real chance of doing that,” he said.
Sterling also admitted his two goals against Spain last October lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.
The brace against the Spanish ended a 27-game run without a goal for his country and he has since added a hat-trick against the Czech Republic and another against Montenegro to make it six for England during 2018/19 and 31 in total for City and England.
“It was only in the last year or so that I realised how bad my record was for England so going into the World Cup, I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and that drought and I don’t think that was maybe the right thing to do.
“The game against Spain was a massive moment for me – I wasn’t really looking at my goals to games ratio in any depth – just focusing on enjoying playing.
“So, I focused with the manager and coaching team on trying to get it right and I was really glad to break that duck and hopefully now I can carry on and keep pushing forward.
“It was a massive highlight was to be part of 2018 World Cup squad and to go so far, but it was a disappointment not to go all the way, but hopefully we can use that experience when we play against Holland.”
When asked if he had talked to City team-mate Bernardo Silva ahead of the tournament, he said: “We spoke briefly – typical team-mate stuff about who is going to win and things like that – I haven’t spoken to him since I arrived because now it’s strictly down to business, but I’ll see him and talk to him soon, I’m sure.”
And on the rumours he could skipper England against the Dutch, he added: “That’s something that’s down to the manager and up for him to decide, but if that ever happens, I’d be very proud and happy for sure.”