Raheem Sterling has called on England fans to get behind the team ahead of the upcoming World Cup and added that he hopes he can repeat his Manchester City form on the national stage.
Sterling has been in sparkling form for Pep Guardiola’s side this season in the Premier League, netting 20 times so far, but with just two goals in 36 appearances for the Three Lions, the former Liverpool player has often bore the brunt of criticism from England fans.
Speaking ahead of England’s friendly with Italy at Wembley on Tuesday, Sterling a positive response from the fans would really help him and Gareth Southgate’s team ahead of Russia.
“I feel sometimes there’s a bit too much negativity. I would love to hear some positive notes going in, just to make the boys know that everyone’s behind them,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.
“If you want your country to do well, as everyone says, bring a positive light into it. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with clear heads, knowing everyone’s behind them, everyone’s with them.
“We know what we can do, I believe what we can do, it’s just having that support and that backing…you know, feel loved.
“Trust me, I think you’ll definitely see a better England.”
The 23-year old added that he has really improved under Guardiola’s influence at City, but that he has yet to show his full potential for his country.
“My form with City hasn’t really benefited England yet because I haven’t got to the levels I want to get to yet.
“At City, Pep Guardiola has been a massive help for me and it’s the same when I come away with England. Gareth (Southgate) is always trying to help the strikers by doing drills designed to improve our finishing and make us better players.
“I feel established with England but I’m still only young and learning and trying to develop my game.
“But as I say, at City, Pep has been fantastic with me.”
Without a goal for England since October 2015, Sterling admitted that he should be doing better in front of goal.
“I should be scoring a lot more for England,” he said.
“I’ve done that at my club, I wasn’t scoring a lot of goals there, but turned it around and started scoring. Same with England, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well and score more.
“It gives you a lot of confidence when you do well for your club and you want to do as much as you can for your country.
“It will be a matter of time. I do have that feeling that it is going to come soon.”