England may, as a whole, have provided a rather dire viewing proposal for football fans yesterday when taking on Norway, but if one only focused on Raheem Sterling it would have been easy to imagine a match brimming with flair, endeavour, and excitement. The 19-year-old winger was England's best player. And it wasn't even close.
Despite being pushed wide in the midfield of a 4-4-2 to accommodate Roy Hodgson's tactical conservatism, his talent shone through from the start, and it isn't hyperbole to suggest that everything good that England did—in the first half in particular—came through him. His link-up play with Daniel Sturridge was a particular delight, and nearly led to a handful of goals.
In the second half, it was his skill and drive that earned England their penalty, leading to the only goal of the match. And soon after, following the removal of Wayne Rooney, he was allowed to come inside to take on the ten role, from where his increased influence allowed the skill he had shown all night long to improve the entire England side's performance.
On a night when England didn't do a lot right, he didn't put a foot wrong. So for those who might not have seen the match—and beyond Sterling there was really very little reason one would have had to want to sit through what England offered up—a quick look back at his performance seems in order.
Video by Mostar