Sterling Sets Sights on Brazil

Warren Little

Following a strong debut season, Raheem Sterling isn't just targeting improvement for his sophomore campaign—he's targeting a place in England's squad at Brazil 2014.

Starting the season on strong form made Raheem Sterling a regular starter over the first half of the campaign. A thigh injury and the arrivals of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge meant fans saw far less of the young attacker after January, but Sterling hopes that the coming season will see him back on the left wing regularly.

"I want to hopefully get a regular place at Liverpool, get a good run of games and show the manager what I can do," said Sterling of his goals for the coming season. "It's exciting. I can see Liverpool doing really well next season. Since Brendan Rodgers has been at Liverpool, the football has been better.

"Results weren't really going our way at the start of the season, but as the team grew you can see what he's brought to the club. I can't speak highly enough of him. If I can score more goals, contribute more assists and have a good season then hopefully I can make the squad for the World Cup in Rio next year."

Having made just one England appearance so far in his young career, a trip to Rio for the World Cup might be setting the bar a little higher than Sterling can manage, though most will expect him to at least make the squad when World Cup 2018 in Russia rolls around. Until then, the main priority will be Sterling's continued improvement at the club level.

"I know can still improve," he admitted. "I need to relax more on the pitch, I'm sure that will come with age and experience. I want to start contributing a lot more in terms of goals and assists. But as a young player I just want to take it in my stride.

"I don't get carried away with the hype. I just want to show people I'm a decent player. You can have good days, you can have bad days, so I just try to focus on my game and see what I can improve."

Sterling played 24 times in the league in 2012-13, scoring two and adding a pair of assists while showing an encouraging willingness to track back. With Liverpool out of Europe entirely next season and expected to strengthen the squad, though, it may be difficult for Sterling to top those numbers, and depending on who arrives a loan move could be on the cards.

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