Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring against Atalanta last night.
World Class

Raheem Sterling is 'in the top five players in the world now'

Rio Ferdinand heaped praise on the English winger after his latest performance.

FORMER MAN UNITED defender Rio Ferdinand believes Raheem Sterling is among the five best players in the world right now. 

The 24-year-old scored his first Champions League hat-trick on Tuesday in Manchester City’s 5-1 win over Atalanta, which continued their perfect start to their European campaign.

Sterling has also already netted six goals in the Premier League this season with Ferdinand under no doubt that he belongs among the best based on current form. 

“We are running out of great words to say about him,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

“He is a young English player who has played a lot of games. He is still improving and adding more to his game. He has a striker’s nose to get into certain areas.

He is in the top five players in the world now. Definitely! I don’t care who you mention. The effect he is having, the goals he is scoring, it is impossible to keep him out.”

The English attacker has become a reliable outlet under the guidance of City manager Pep Guardiola and Ferninand believes the Spaniard has been key to Sterling’s development. 

“Sometimes you are blessed to get a manager to learn from,” he said. “Pep Guardiola coming at the time he did, to coach this young player with immense potential.”

Guardiola however was quick to deflect any role he’s played in Sterling’s rise and stressed he has the potential to become even better. 

“The credit is just for him. All of the credit. He can be better but he is perfect,” Guardiola said post-match. 

His physicality, he is strong, he could play a game the day after a game, his regeneration is so strong. He is an extraordinary player. 

“He can play both sides, defensively he helps us a lot. He is an incredible player. It depends on him but he has the desire to do better.”

City are now set to play three games in the space of a week with a league clash against Aston Villa on Saturday to be followed by a Carabao Cup encounter with Southampton mid-week before facing off against the Saints again days later on the domestic front.

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