Birthdate: 8 December 1994
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Other clubs: Manchester City (2015-)
Bought from: Queens Park Rangers (youth)
Signed for LFC: £500,000, 27.02.2010
International debut: 14.11.2012 vs. Sweden
International caps: 16/1 (14.06.2015)
Liverpool debut: 24.03.2012
Last appearance: 16.05.2015
Debut goal: 20.10.2012
Last goal: 13.04.2015
Contract expiry: 14.07.2015
Win ratio: 50.39% W: 65 D: 27 L: 37
Games/goals ratio: 5.61
LFC league games/goals: 95 / 18
Total LFC games/goals: 129 / 23
Sterling joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old from the youth set-up at Queens Park Rangers on 27 February 2010. His family moved from Jamaica when he was seven. Sterling had been featuring regularly for Rangers' u-18 team at that time as well as the reserves. There is a tendency to exaggerate the potential of young promising players like Sterling and the hype machine certainly went into full swing when he scored five goals for Liverpool's youth side in a 9-0 FA Cup win over Southend in February 2011. Following his performance he was included in the club's senior squad who travelled to Prague ahead of their Europa League contest on 17 February 2011. Sterling, who had to have a guardian following him to Prague as he was so young, ultimately didn't make the bench but the experience must have been valuable. Finally, after much speculation, he made his Liverpool first-team debut when he came on as a late substitute against Wigan Athletic at Anfield towards the end of a 2-1 Premier League defeat on 24 March 2012. Two more substitute appearances followed in the end-of-season matches against the west London clubs Fulham and Chelsea.
Since Brendan Rodgers took over as boss at Liverpool Sterling became a vital player in the starting line-up and his rapid progress earned him a call-up to the England u-21's In October and on 14 November 2012, at 17 years and 332 days, he became the fifth-youngest England player when making his debut against Sweden in Stockholm. Sterling signed a new and long-term five-year contract with Liverpool just before Christmas 2012. Sterling appeared in thirty-six of the club's fifty-four competitive matches in 2012/13. But the majority of those came before New Year and he wasn't used so frequently in the second half of the season, partly because he had a thigh injury but possibly also through loss of form and confidence and maybe because he had a court case hanging over him for a matter which was eventually dropped when a witness failed to turn up in court. The winger probably felt that appearing in over 60% of the Premier League fixtures marked considerable progress in his professional career. But his form fluctuated and he only scored twice, in home matches against Reading and Sunderland. Passing his 18th birthday midway through the season, this young man still has a lot to prove despite his recognition at international level.
Sterling had a wonderful 2013/14 season, immediately after which he was named as part of England's squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil along with his teammates Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge. Still several months short of his 20th birthday when the season ended, this young man really came of age in a footballing sense by appearing in nearly 90% of Liverpool's competitive matches during the season. But apart from becoming a regular in the first team, he started to become a real asset as a goal-taker in addition to being a goal-maker. Ten goals scored was a massive improvement on the two he had scored in 2012/13, especially as he only played in two matches less in that previous season. His dribbling ability and the way he ran at defenders and refused to be knocked off the ball was a constant threat to opponents as he finally began to fulfil the success that had been predicted for him when he was a youngster at Queens Park Rangers. Sterling was nominated for the Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year award which was ultimately won by Chelsea's Eden Hazard. But at LFC's own Players' Awards evening, held in the final week of the season, Sterling deservedly took the Young Player award in recognition of the enormous progress he had made during the previous twelve months.
World Cup 2014: Still a few months short of his 20th birthday Sterling was a member of the England squad in Brazil and played throughout the opening group match against Italy in Manaus. He started again against Uruguay four days later but was replaced by Ross Barkley after twenty minutes of the second half. He again came on as a substitute in the final group match against Costa Rica, this time for Adam Lallana. On the field Sterling continued to make good progress in 2014/15. Fifty-two appearances for his club in all competitions was easily the highest of his career so far and eleven goals was one more than his total for the previous season. It was off the field that the problems arose. Under contract at his club until the end of June 2017 he turned down a new contract which would have made him a very wealthy young man indeed, bringing in £100,000-a-week. Inevitably this led to a backlash against him by some supporters and he was even heckled as he went up to receive the club's Young Player of the Season award.
All hell broke loose when his agent Aidy Ward told the London Evening Standard that his most precious client wouldn't sign a new deal no matter what: "I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation. I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700,000, £800,000 or £900,000 a week." Manchester City's interest in Sterling was well documented and finally their third bid for was accepted which could total a whopping £49m (made up of £44m plus £5m in potential add-ons) making him the most expensive English footballer in history having topped Andy Carroll’s £35m move from Newcastle to Liverpool in 2011. Queens Park Rangers, who sold Sterling for £50000 in 2010, will net £9.8m as part of a 20 per cent sell-on clause they agreed with Liverpool when he was initially purchased. Sterling also became Manchester City’s record signing and the third most expensive player bought made by a Premier League club after Angel Di Maria and Fernando Torres. There is no doubt that Sterling is greatly overvalued at this enormous price but City may be getting the most exciting young talent in the country.