• World Cup

Sterling tipped to become world's best

ESPN staff
June 9, 2014
England have been underestimated

Raheem Sterling has the potential to become one of the best players in the world, according to England and Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson.

Sterling has long been dubbed a wonderkid, having moved to Anfield from QPR as a 15 year old for an initial fee of £600,000 that could rise to a reported £5 million.

Four years later it is looking an excellent piece of business, with Sterling moving to the fore with both club and country. He was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award for his Liverpool performances and could be handed a starting berth in England's Group D opener against Italy on Saturday.

"Raheem is a fantastic player,'' Henderson said. "You've seen that in the Premier League and even when he's played for England. He has no fear. For such a young boy, he's got great awareness and his knowledge of the game is really good.

"He can be a big plus for us in this World Cup. He's got a good head on shoulders, got good people around him, so he's just got to keep working hard. I am sure he will go right to the very top."

There is a six-strong Liverpool contingent in the England squad that landed in Brazil on Sunday, including captain Steven Gerrard. His presence is helping the younger players to settle in and has boosted Henderson's chances of starting the opening game in Manaus.

The pair have shone alongside one another in Liverpool's midfield, meaning Henderson could next weekend make his first competitive appearance for England since the Euro 2012 exit to Italy.

"Everybody has settled in really well,'' Henderson said. "There are a lot of young lads that have come through together and know each other well. The more experienced lads have really welcomed everybody in and it's a very close group.

"I've played with Steven for a number of years now and I've sort of got a good relationship with him. We are just trying to bring that with England as best we can, but everybody is gelling well and we're gelling well as a team.''

Raheem Sterling and England's other youngsters have been taking advice from senior squad members, including captain Steven Gerrard © Getty Images
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