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Sterling Sick Strike Continues

It’s day two of Raheem Sterling calling in sick from training, and with the player still insistent he won’t be going on the pre-season tour, things look likely to get worse before they get better.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

For the second day in a row, Raheem Sterling has called in sick from training. Which seems a horribly silly thing to be keeping track of and yet such is the state of the drama surrounding the 20-year-old England international that is seems nigh on unavoidable. And with Liverpool not flying out to Bangkok until Sunday, there seem likely to be at least two more days of this to go.

At that point, should Sterling fail to show for the club’s pre-season tour, it is inevitable he will be fined and likely sent to train on his own as Luis Suarez was when Arsenal came calling. And, as when Arsenal came calling for Luis Suarez, every sign points to Liverpool being determined to hold firm. The club value Sterling at £50M, and if Manchester City don’t offer that, Sterling won’t be going anywhere.

That could leave the player in an awkward situation, as he cannot afford to sulk away the entire season if Liverpool don’t sell him. He’s only currently on £35k a week, and not playing at a crucial stage in his development not only hurts his transfer value—it also hurts his earning power. Plus there’s the small matter of the Euros coming up next summer. Sterling won’t be there if he’s sulking in the reserves.

As with Suarez’ roller-coaster saga, there’s still time for either an acceptable deal to come in or for Sterling to decide knuckling down and putting in his best effort is to his own long-term benefit perhaps even more than it is to Liverpool’s. The signs, though, are worrying. The signs aren’t great for Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, either, who has lost his only other client because of the current Sterling mess.

Having been in the midst of setting up his own agency, Ward split from his former employers with two clients: Sterling and West Brom’s Saido Berahino. Many will recall that for a time, Berahino sought to employ similar tactics to Sterling as he pushed for a move away from West Brom. Now, though, he has left Ward, reportedly due to the damage he sees being done to Sterling’s reputation through Ward’s efforts.

In the end, Ward may get Sterling his big-money move to Manchester City. In the end, though, he could have gotten him that move in a far more amicable fashion, and attempts to create and even more untenable situation such as this latest sick strike seem unnecessary at absolute best. In the meantime, Sterling remains on an old £35k per week contract and has become a widely reviled figure in the national press.

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