Raheem Sterling signs 'long-term' Liverpool contract

England winger commits future to Reds

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The Independent Football

Liverpool have announced that Raheem Sterling has signed a "long-term" contract with the club.

Talks with the England international had been ongoing for sometime, with manager Brendan Rodgers urging the winger to commit his future to the club, saying Liverpool was the "best place for him."

With his contract running down, there had been talk of a switch to another club, however today's announcement brings an end to any speculation.

"It's every 18-year-old's dream. I'm just really grateful to be at such a big club like this," Sterling told Liverpool's official website.

"There's a lot more to be done. I haven't begun yet, as the manager has said. Hopefully I can kick on after the New Year and try to do my best for the team and the football club."

The 18-year-old has been catapulted into the first-team picture this season, making 25 appearances for the senior side already.

While injuries have led Rodgers to call on the winger more often than he would have preferred, Sterling's performances have more than merited his place in the side.

Consistent displays led to a call-up to the England squad this season, and he made his debut in an experimental side against Sweden last month.

Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR in 2010 before making his debut in March this year against Wigan. His appearance for the national team made him Liverpool's youngest-ever player to represent England.

Managing director Ian Ayre said: "This is another positive step forward for the football club in securing the long-term future of one of the country's brightest young talents.

"The negotiations were very positive and both parties acted in a very responsible way to reach an outcome that benefits both Raheem and Liverpool FC.

"Since the summer, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso have all signed new long-term contracts and it's a clear indication of our intent to keep the players we believe are crucial to bringing success on the pitch.

"It also shows the belief the players have in the vision and leadership of Brendan Rodgers and everyone at this football club."

Ahead of today's announcement, Rodgers explained that the talks with Sterling were as much about the playing side as the financial.

"This was about a young player who has rocketed from playing in the youth teams and the reserves into becoming a full England international.

"A lot has happened in his young life and it was just about making sure that there was that protection for him going forward - both in his financial situation and his football plan.

"I have always been confident that this was going to be the best place for him and thankfully the kid is very focused and devoted to Liverpool.

"His representatives know this is the best place for him. Once it gets concluded, he can start to the next part of his development and hopefully he can keep progressing.

"We were always calm (about the situation). I speak a lot with Raheem and his representatives and there has never been any issues from their side."