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Media Watch: Transfer gossip and Sterling praise

STERLING WORK: Raheem Sterling earned praise for his display for England

STERLING WORK: Raheem Sterling earned praise for his display for England

With the eagerly-awaited return of match action, the World Cup just around the corner and the transfer window very much open, there are plenty of topics to discuss this Sunday morning.

As we do each at the beginning of each day, we’ve trawled through the City-centric headlines just for you and with several of our stars in action last night, plus the news of two recruits, there’s certainly no shortage of talking points.

It was a night of mixed fortunes on the international front as captain Vincent Kompany was sadly forced off with a groin injury, while Kevin De Bruyne completed 90 minutes of Belgium’s goalless draw with Portugal.

READ: Kompany suffers groin injury

Bernardo Silva played 78 minutes of that clash, and there were six more Blues in action as Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan represented Germany and our four-man England contingent all featured in the Three Lions’ victory over Nigeria.

After a difficult week, the spotlight shone on Raheem Sterling at Wembley and the City star produced a solid display, earning praise from the press and his peers.

The Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton reflected: “He was bright, alert, keen not just to get on the ball but to make an impact.

“A flash of skill and he was unleashing one effort only to see it diverted wide by Leon Balogun.

“Moments later and Dele Alli had sent him clear to leave him with only Francis Uzoho to beat. He lifted his left-foot effort over the advancing Nigeria goalkeeper but the ball drifted wide of the far post. And then came a neat exchange of passes that ended with an invitation for Ashley Young to try his luck.

“Nigeria, by then a goal down to Gary Cahill's excellent header, had sufficient numbers in the six-yard box to see off the danger but they were struggling to contain the lightning-quick forward who has so excelled this season for the English champions.

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“Sterling seemed to be enjoying being part of an exciting attacking line-up.”

The City man himself told reporters he is fully focused on his football.

“People will see stuff in the wrong way,” he conceded.” I'm just looking to get over it and keep concentrating on football. To come here, express my talent and try and win football matches for this country.

“It's a distraction you don't need, but it's one of those I've learned to deal with now and block out.

“Just keep concentrating and doing what you're doing all season. Things will work out as they have.”

Opening goalscorer Gary Cahill applauded the winger’s ‘fantastic’ performance and attitude.

Quoted in an article by Sports Mole, the Chelsea defender hailed: “Raheem has been fantastic with it all. He manages that situation very, very well.

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“He’s kept working hard, kept his focus and I think you saw a performance that, apart from scoring a goal, he was very lively.

"So, credit to him. He has had to come over that but it is to be expected for whatever reason. I think first and foremost, he has conducted himself fantastically well this week – he has managed that situation very well.

"He has come out in front of a huge crowd and performed very well. He created quite a few chances... [There are] no issues.

“He played very well, the lads are delighted and the goals are just around the corner for him, I'm sure."

Harry Kane echoed the sentiments, telling Sky Sports: “Raheem is very, very strong mentally.

“He’s been training very well and he’s come out played excellently. That’s all we can do as players – fight and play for our countries to the best of our abilities.”

Former Blue Shay Given also offered his support, declaring he believes there is more to come from the youngster, whose displays caught the eye last season.

"He has worked very hard with Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff to improve," Given asserts on the Premier League’s official website.

“He has scored more goals and created more assists and he's still very young.

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“I think there's lots more to come in the coming seasons."

Elsewhere, there was also praise for De Bruyne, as Roberto Martinez opined the attacking midfielder deserved to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

“I was surprised De Bruyne didn’t beat Salah to the Player of the Year,” he admitted, as conveyed by the Mirror.

“Mo has had an incredible season, the best season in his career but Kevin almost came into a new way of working with Pep Guardiola, who has a really strong connection with him, and he influenced a lot of things.

“This is a team that has broken all the records in the Premier League. Individual awards are given for individual performances, but those individual performances come as part of a team in what is a team sport and Kevin, in the early part of the season, was magnificent.

“I understand what Mo did, but, out of the two, Kevin probably had a bigger effect over the season.”

In other news, Guardiola has revealed he would be interested in coaching at the World Cup in the future, although you will be *glad all over* to know he’s fully committed to City for the time being!

Football Espana run the story based on the Catalan’s quotes from a press conference in Belgium.

“I’ll be where I am for the next few years,” Guardiola asserted. “After that, we’ll see.

“I’d like to experience the World Cup – not now but in the future. I’m still too young!”

Meanwhile, Last Word On Football have penned their opinions on Nick Cushing’s new recruits – Lauren Hemp and Caroline Weir.

Paul Clarke scribes: “Hemp says her style of play is creative and direct. This is just what the City team lacked as they struggled for goals despite dominating possession.

READ: City sign Lauren Hemp

READ: Caroline Weir joins the Club

“Hemp has been a fixture in the England youth set-up and scored four times in seven U-19 appearances. She was also voted England Youth Player of the Year in 2017.

“Weir scored six goals in a stuttering Liverpool side but is a Scotland regular at 22 with 40 caps under her belt, scoring six times.

“One of Cushing’s strengths is he not afraid to give young players like Georgia Stanway a go. He’s banking on Hemp realising her huge potential, and Weir continuing her progress to becoming a top-class attacking midfielder.

“Both will add to a squad that looks to catch up to Chelsea in the revamped Women’s Super League. They will also be looking to the new players contributing so they can go one better after reaching successive Champion’s League semi-finals.”

Finally, there are a few snippets of transfer gossip as the Sun claim City are plotting a £39million bid for Valencia right-back Joao Cancelo, while the Manchester Evening News report the Blues have had a €50million bid for Napoli midfielder Jorginho rejected.

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On Cancelo, George Bond states: “Pep Guardiola's side, who cruised to the Premier League title in 2017-18 with a record 100 points, are on the look out for a back-up to England's Kyle Walker.

“Italian outlet Top Calcio reported that a £39million bid has already been submitted for the defender, who can also fill in as a right winger.

“Cancelo, 24, spent the last year on loan at Inter Milan, after joining Valencia from Benfica in 2015.

“An asset at both ends of the pitch, Cancelo already has three goals for Portugal in just seven international appearances.

“The transfer may benefit from the defender being cut from Portugal's 35-man preliminary squad for this summer's World Cup, which would have delayed any change of club.”

While on Jorginho, Liam Corless writes: “The Italy international is one of Pep Guardiola’s top summer targets, with the Catalan boss bidding to add further strength in depth to his squad ahead of City’s title defence.

“However, it appears the Premier League champions will have to dig a little deeper to get a deal over the line.”

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis apparently said to Corriere dello Sport: “Jorginho? I have refused an offer from Man City worth €45m plus €5m in bonuses.”

As always, remember: we’ll be the first to confirm any completed transfers right here on ManCity.com.

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