Raheem Sterling hits back at the ‘unfair flak’ he has got while playing for England

Raheem Sterling has been one of the stars of England’s run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 (Picture: EPA)

Raheem Sterling admits that his England career so far has ‘not been an easy road’ and he has been forced to ignore media reactions after the ‘unfair flak’ that has come his way.

The Manchester City superstar has been one of the shining lights of England’s run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, scoring in three of England’s first four matches of the event and proving integral in the 4-0 quarter-final win over Ukraine without getting on the score sheet.

The 26-year-old has taken his numbers for the Three Lions to 17 goals in 66 appearances and is undoubtedly a key member of the team under Gareth Southgate, but it has not always been as fun an experience to play for his country.

Sterling has come under fire in the past for his performances for England and even for things outside of football, from tattoos to the houses he has bought, which has made it more difficult to find his best form for the Three Lions.

‘It’s not been an easy road with the national team,’ Sterling told the BBC.

‘In the past, I would say unfair flak I would get before even touching a ball. As a young person it was difficult to deal with.

‘In life and in football, you tend to have to challenge yourself and take it for what it is. You can’t be down on yourself, you have to push yourself even more, and that’s what I have been doing. I think that is one of my best traits.’

Sterling has scored goals against Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany at Euro 2020 (Picture: Getty)

Sterling says that criticism from the press has hampered his career in the past, but he has learned to block it out and simply doesn’t concern himself with it anymore.

‘You try and perform your best and I never really understood it,’ he said.

‘These things can affect you. You might think it can’t, but one comment that one person says – one journalist or one ex-footballer – it can be on your mind.

‘From that experience, I have taught myself not to look at these things.’

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