Raheem Sterling returns home from training and puts his feet up for the day. Hours later, he is made aware that a group of children from Jamaica, the country of his birth, are having a coaching session at the Etihad Campus.
He returns to the training ground unannounced, at 9pm. The kids are delighted. Sterling happily poses for pictures and eventually returns home, having provided memories and selfies which will last a lifetime.
Fast forward a few months, and at the same training ground, Sterling is attacked by a racist thug as he reports for duty ahead of a Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Raheem Sterling is currently firing on all cylinders for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City
Hours later, despite wearing bruises where he has been kicked, he goes on to score two goals in an impressive 4-1 victory for Pep Gaurdiola’s relentless machine.
On the morning of December 20, at Manchester Magistrates Court, Sterling’s attacker is jailed for 16 weeks after admitting racially aggravated common assault.
Hours later, and just yards away at the city’s Menagerie Bar, Sterling is the life and soul of the staff’s Christmas party, happily mingling with staff and attempting to put the incident to the back of his mind. The three anecdotes above illustrate two things.
Firstly, that Raheem Sterling’s reactions off the field are almost as impressive as they are on it. He sees a situation, evaluates it and then responds accordingly.
Secondly, that this is a player who has matured, who has embraced responsibility and who can now be counted on to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing. So far this season, Sterling has scored a staggering 18 goals across all competitions, the latest of which coming last night and just 38 seconds into City’s park stroll against Watford.
It was a confident, left-footed finish of a man who seemingly has the utmost confidence in his own ability to hit the target. It is also a far cry from parts of last season, when City fans wondered if they were ever going to get an end product from a player who