‘Nothing like him’ – Raheem Sterling can’t compare himself to ‘confident’ England World Cup star Jude Bellingham but pleads ‘let him be’

    Raheem Sterling has told talkSPORT a ‘confident’ Jude Bellingham is incomparable to his younger self.

    Chelsea’s Sterling made his World Cup bow for England aged 19 in 2014, a feat that’s now been repeated by Borussia Dortmund’s Bellingham.

    Bellingham flew out of the box for England

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    Bellingham flew out of the box for England

    The midfielder starred in a statement opening win for the Three Lions, scoring the opener in a morale-boosting 6-2 victory over Iran.

    The goal was yet another chapter in Bellingham’s meteoric rise to the top of the game, which has garnered links to all of Europe’s biggest club sides.

    And for Sterling, it’s impossible to measure himself up against Bellingham at the same age.

    “How do I compare myself? Nothing like him!” he said. “He’s a confident individual who slots right into this team.

    “Like anything when I was 19 and going to my first World Cup it wasn’t the same personnel around you, it was kind of a transitional period.

    “But he’s a fantastic player, he’s one that we’ve just got to let keep doing his thing and enjoying his football and not putting pressure on him.

    Sterling is mighty impressed

    Getty

    Sterling is mighty impressed

    “I think he’ll get to the very top but we’ve just got to be patient and let him flow and as you see with club football and now internationally he’s doing really well.”

    Sterling’s 2014 tournament in Brazil came after his part in Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge under Brendan Rodgers, and he later moved to Manchester City in a £50million deal.

    Similar attention will likely be focused on Bellingham ahead of upcoming transfer windows, but Sterling is keen for the youngster to be given time and space to do his own thing.

    “I’m big on just letting someone be, just let him be,” the Blues forward said.

    Sterling wants his teammate to continue to grow

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    Sterling wants his teammate to continue to grow

    “He’s got all the ability in the world but you don’t need the added pressure. I think leave that to the guys that have been in situations like this before.

    “He’s someone that I would love to just go under the radar and keep playing his football, I think he’ll flourish off of that.

    “I’m not saying he can’t deal with it but at the same time anyone will flourish or play even better when they haven’t got too much pressure on them.

    “I do think he’s going to play a vital part in this team and as you’ve seen the other day how comfortable he is in possession, how confident he is and the maturity as well, I think that’s something that surprises a lot of people about him, his maturity on and off the field.”

    talkSPORT World Cup 2022 Coverage

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