Kolo Toure has advised Raheem Sterling to stay at Liverpool, in an interview with the city’s Echo paper.
The Ivorian defender has urged Sterling to remain at the club where he came up through the ranks, and offered the caveat that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,
But what initially appears like good sound advice actually looks a little shaky and hollow when you read between the lines.
Toure warns Sterling that he won’t be the best player at a club like Man City – but this is precisely the problem with his situation at Liverpool: at just 20 years of age and still a raw talent, Sterling shouldn’t be the best player at the club.
Toure then tells him that he won’t be allowed any slip-ups if he moves to the likes of Man City, where a small mistake can see a player relegated to the bench for two or three games.
Again, this is rather odd advice, and inadvertently makes Liverpool sound like a small-time club: by implication, Liverpool is a club where mistakes are allowed, and high standards are not set,
Is that really good advice to be giving to a 20-year old player with the world at his feeet?
Toure told the Echo:
”This boy is a fantastic player.
I’m not surprised there’s speculation because everybody would want to have a player like him.
“But he needs to stay here. Liverpool is a great place for him.
“This is a massive club and he has a manager who believes in him. There’s a lot more to come from Raheem and he needs to be in an environment where he can really express himself.
“I hope he signs. This is a club where he can really enjoy his football and where people will give him responsibility.
“This is definitely the best place for him to continue his development. At Liverpool, he’s beginning to be one of the most important players. He’s playing every week.
“If he went to another club there would be big challenges he would face. He wouldn’t be the most important player.”
“Both Rodwell and Sinclair went to a club where there is big competition and didn’t play.
“If Raheem left Liverpool he wouldn’t be sure to start games. Make a mistake or don’t score for two games and he will be on the bench. There is no messing at clubs like that.
“Raheem is still only 20 and this is the best place for him to continue learning. He’s very important to this club.
“He needs to stay at Liverpool for at least two more years to go to the next level. Then he could look at it again.
“He’s an intelligent boy and I’m sure he will make the right decision.
“I remember playing against him when I was at City – he’s so quick, aggressive and fearless.
“He has been amazing for us this season and works so hard. He makes life very difficult for defenders.
“Raheem has been given a great opportunity at Liverpool and has done very well. He needs to stay here to keep progressing as a player.”