Mens Team

Joleon Lescott: Raheem Sterling one of world’s best forwards

Joleon Lescott believes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only two forwards in the world who are eclipsing Raheem Sterling’s level of performance.

Sterling came off the bench to score his 24th goal of the season in the 5-0 win over Newcastle United and Lescott feels Manchester City’s No.7 has cemented his status as one of the best attackers in the game.

Our former defender says Sterling’s improved form in front of goal makes him comparable to any of the world class players attempting to reach the stratospheric levels Messi and Ronaldo.

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“Raheem has taken himself to the top tier now,” Lescott said on our We’re Not Really Here live matchday show.

“He has to be regarded as one of the top wide players or forwards in the game because he contributes.

"He has the ability to play well and win man of the match and not score and then on other occasions he just scores and impacts the game that way.

“I think you have to be pretty naïve to not respect what he’s doing. There are players like Messi and Ronaldo that are scoring 50 goals a season. They are super freaks!

“In terms of the next tier, Raheem has to be compared to those kinds of players.”

Sterling replaced Gabriel Jesus against Newcastle, leading the forward line for the final half hour of what was a devastating attacking display from Pep Guardiola’s side.

With Sergio Aguero injured, it is a role he could well be asked to fill again this season and Lescott says there is no doubt about his ability to operate as an out and out striker.

“There are always going to be options for players to play in different positions, but Raheem has proven he can play as a No.9,” he added.

“The No.9s that we’ve come across in the past in the Premier League needed to hold up the ball, but that doesn’t need to happen for City.

“You need to make runs off the ball and create space for other people in possession and obviously have the composure that Raheem’s got in front of goal.

“He’s now our top goal scorer, I didn’t think there would be a time when someone would score more than Sergio Aguero whilst he is at the Club.

"I know he’s been injured, but it’s a credit to him.”