The Manchester City winger provided an emphatic finish to a flowing 17-pass move to break the deadlock in the 16th minute, and added another from close range after Marcus Rashford had slotted past David De Gea following excellent work from Harry Kane to send England into half-time with a shock 3-0 lead over Luis Enrique’s team.
Goals from substitute Paco Alcacer and Sergio Ramos ensured a nervy finale for England as Spain rallied after the break, but they held on to kick-start their Uefa Nations League campaign with a first victory on Spanish turf since 1987, and Sterling was voted man of the match.
“It was beautiful feeling,” he told Sky Sports of his first goal. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to get in the box and score goals and it’s my position to score goals so I need to keep going. It meant a lot, it’s been three years without scoring so it meant a lot.
“You know a lot of the time I was coming to feet and not making runs in behind like at my club but I analysed it and am trying to get in the box more.
“It was a brilliant team performance. We went at them from the beginning and we were clinical.
“The other day [against Croatia] we missed some chances but today we finished them when we needed too.”
Kane’s goalless run for England now stretches to seven international games, but his performance offered much more than scoring threat as he provided assists for Sterling and Rashford. After the match, the Tottenham striker insisted that he is not worried about his own struggles to find the net.
“People always talk about goals and if I don’t score I don’t play well, but plenty of games in my career where I’ve had very good games and am contributing to the team,” Kane said.
“Of course I love scoring goals but winning feels even better. [I got a] couple of assists which is great and these boys finished it which was perfect for us.
“It was amazing. Spain are probably one of the in-form teams in the world right now but we knew we could beat them. We played well at Wembley we just didn’t take our chances there.
“We came out the blocks firing. Great pressing, great passing, great goals. We knew the second half would be difficult but I thought we defended well, we soaked up the pressure and thankfully the ref blew the whistle at the end.
“We are going to enjoy this. Great performance, everyone dug deep, great goals from Raza and Rash and we deserved the three points.”
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