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Raheem Sterling: 'Level of competition for places behind improvement'

Sterling: 'Level of competition behind improvement'
© Reuters
The 24-year-old has been a prominent figure in the fight against abuse and discrimination from the stands.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling hopes his – and other players' – stance on racism will help eradicate it from grounds within the next decade.

The 24-year-old has been a prominent figure in the fight against abuse and discrimination from the stands, with his treatment at Stamford Bridge earlier this season thrusting the issue into the headlines.

Since then there have been numerous other incidents but Sterling hopes by taking action now he and his fellow professionals can avoid further pain in the future.

"It's difficult. I wanted to bring light on not just one situation, but on my past experiences, things I've felt and know speaking to other players, something I felt I needed to say," he said.

"We're trying, not just me, to make a change that in 10 years' time younger players won't have to think about a match and dare to be abused because the fans at that stadium will know what the consequences will be.

"That's the end goal for me and every other player I've spoken to, people at the club, and we're trying to get something in place so people have to think twice before they say something like that.

"People always say about walking off the field, it's not one I personally agree with.

"It's (football) something you love; the abuse is vile, degrading, but you know what you are, you don't need someone to tell you what you are.

"The best way is to be hard-headed and do it in the right way, try to win that match and stick it to them."

Sterling is in the running for Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year with his main rival being Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk.

The England international has had another great season and is on course to beat last season's best Premier League return of 18 goals (he is currently on 17).

"I'd say competition (is the reason for improving) with the manager bringing more wide players in," he added.

"I realised it (goals and assists) was a part of my game I needed to do better at and I think I have started to enjoy it.

"I always said I wanted to get better at it. I didn't say I need to score this many, but last season I said I wanted to score 15 in the league, and scored 18. "This season I need to go better than last season. What you do as a winger, if you can contribute those numbers and assists, you can help your team compete for trophies at the end of the year."


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Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 14, 2019.
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Sterling: Racism "nowhere near being sorted"
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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