• Premier League

Gerrard shocked by Sterling's progression

ESPN staff
October 22, 2012
Raheem Sterling opened his Liverpool account against Reading © Getty Images

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes that youngster Raheem Sterling has everything he needs to become a great at the club.

Sterling, 17, who has become a first-team regular this season, scored his first senior goal as Reading were beaten 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

It was the latest step in the remarkable rise of the teenager, who has become one of the most exciting prospects in English football since making his debut for Liverpool in March.

He is also making rapid strides at international level: having started the season in the England Under-19 set-up, Sterling made his Under-21 debut less than two weeks ago, and is in the frame to win his first full cap in a friendly against Sweden next month.

And Gerrard, 32, says he has been amazed by the progress of the winger, whose goal on Saturday made him the second-youngest scorer in the club's history.

"I think Raheem has been a great surprise to everyone," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. "Not that he's doing so well at this level - as we always knew he was going to be good enough to play for the first team - but I don't think anyone expected him to break through so early.

"When they are young and small sometimes they get eased in towards the end of a season to give them a taste. But the new manager has come in, seen what he's done in pre-season and said, 'Yeah, he's ready now'.

"He's given him his chance and Raheem's not let anyone down. He's been sensational so far. We all know he's exciting, that he can run at players and if he gets in one on one situations he's deadly. If he can add goals and assists to his game as he grows then he can go all the way to the top."

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