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Media Watch: Sharp Sterling shines for England

MAIN MAN: Raheem Sterling impressed as England played Italy at Wembley.

MAIN MAN: Raheem Sterling impressed as England played Italy at Wembley.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was the star to shine brightest as England drew 1-1 with Italy, according to sections of the media.

Our No. 7 has received plenty of praise for his Wembley display, while elsewhere in the press, Nicolas Otamendi has revealed Lionel Messi’s desire for success on the international stage.

But first, to Sterling and the reaction to his performance for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

Goal’s Peter Staunton felt the midfielder did his chances of securing a starting berth at this summer’s World Cup no harm.

Writes Staunton: “Raheem Sterling is operating a more central role for country than club.

“The Manchester City man has been bestowed playmaking duties and he is showing good instincts in varying his movements between stopping short and opting to run in behind.

“As a ball-carrier, he will have few equals at the World Cup.”

Paul Hayward of the Telegraph was equally impressed and feels Sterling can take a more prominent role in Russia this summer.

“The time has come for him to regard himself as a senior player from the top English club, and assert himself accordingly,” opined Hayward.

“This looked to be his intention, as he dropped deep in the second half to collect the ball and shape England’s play.

THINK PIECE: Boss Joe Royle (second left) and then Fulham manager Kevin Keegan in 1998

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“There is no reason for him to keep seeing himself as a fringe England player, or one going through the motions.

"Sterling can be the best expression of Man City’s talent store available to Southgate. Where Guardiola leads, Southgate can follow in converting promise into game-changing reality.

“To see Sterling in his element - centrally, deep and sometimes wide - was a boost for the idea that England can send out dangerous players in Russia.”

Meanwhile, Otamendi has spoken of his desire for Argentina to take advantage of having Lionel Messi at their disposal.

The Daily Star have the story, which was published before the Albiceleste lost 6-1 to Spain, with Otamendi saying: “I am lucky to share a team with Leo and he wants to win a title with the shirt of his country more than anyone.

“For Leo it's obviously what's missing, but it doesn't stop him being the best in the world.

“In Argentina we are very demanding, but we are lucky to have Leo, he helps a lot.

“He is always calm, he tries to deliver for the team. He's a competitor, a winner, in games and in training.

“Sometimes the game doesn't go as planned but he always looks for the best for the team.

“We try to help him, to give him what he needs, to make it work and take advantage of having him in the team."

That's all for today, Blues, but we'll be back with more headlines tomorrow.

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