Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard impressed with meteoric rise of Raheem Sterling
Monday 22 October 2012
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has hailed the sensational impact of youngster Raheem Sterling, whom he believes can go "all the way to the top".
The 17-year-old became the Reds' second-youngest scorer in the Premier League after Michael Owen with the only goal - his first senior one for the club - in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Reading.
Gerrard knows a thing or too about breaking into Liverpool's first team as a precocious teenager, having done so himself aged 18 in 1998.
"I think he has been a great surprise to everyone; not that he is doing so well at this level but I don't think anyone expected him to break through so early," the 32-year-old said.
"I think we all knew he was going to be good enough to play for the first team but when they are young and small and that size sometimes you need to take a little bit extra care.
"They get used towards the end of the season to give them a taste but the manager has come in, seen what he has done in pre-season and said he is ready now.
"He hasn't let anyone down and he's been sensational so far.
"First and foremost he has the trust of the manager. He is the one who picks the team and week in, week out he is getting a start.
"That is what you need when you break through, you need the manager to believe in you because sometimes it is hard to play well every game.
"When you don't play well the manager keeps playing you and he's telling you that you are ready for this level, you're going to be around for a long time so get out and do your stuff and that is what he did against Reading.
"If he can add assists and goals to his game the more he grows he can go all the way to the top."
Sterling, who joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old from QPR, is still so young the club are shielding him from media interviews, at least until his 18th birthday in December.
So the youngster expressed his thoughts about his first senior Liverpool goal on Twitter, saying: "Great day for me and my family to score for such a big club. One of the happiest days of my life."
Had his team-mates been sharper up front a first home league win of season would have been put beyond doubt long before the end.
"The frustration was in not killing the game off really," added Gerrard. "We haven't had a win at Anfield for such a long time we got a bit nervous and edgy, but the only thing we deserved was the three points.
"We have to build on it, it is as simple as that. This is only a good result if we can get a result in the derby (at Everton) next week."
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Cardiff City launch ‘fraud’ probe into summer transfer spending
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Suarez
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians