Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling
is filling the headlines and attracting criticism from all corners but it’s all a typical case of ‘bad advice’, says Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson.
Sterling stirred controversy earlier this week when confirming rumours he had turned down a £100,000-a-week offer to stay at Anfield beyond his current contract, which keeps him at the club until the summer of 2017.
Sterling then took to the media to say he was completely focused on winning trophies with the club, while rubbishing suggestions he was a “money-grabbing 20-year-old”.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has since said Sterling will not be leaving in the summer, but Thompson, who was at the club for 13 years, said the furore had only erupted because of poor advice from his intermediary.
“Not just over his contract situation, but coming forward to do a televised interview,” Thompson told Sky Sports.
“If, as he has suggested, he wanted to put the matter to bed until the end of the season, to bring it up again and especially before a vital game against Arsenal, it’s not the right way of doing things.
“And it shows his representative is inexperienced and is giving Raheem bad advice.
“I believe he’s a young agent who used to work for a big firm that used to take care of Raheem, but now he’s gone on his own and he’s advising him – badly in my opinion.
“It smacks of self-interest from the agent and Raheem is probably too young to realise that. It’s becoming very like the Suarez situation now. Liverpool are in control of this, no matter what Raheem or his agent thinks.
“It could be a stand-off for a while, but it’s the football club who suffer from this type of thing. If he was to stay and things don’t go right in the next two to three years, he’d certainly have the opportunity to re-negotiate his future.
“For me, this is the right place for him to be playing his football, there’s no need to force a move just yet.
“Anyone would tell him that, yet for some reason, Raheem and his advisor can’t see what’s right in front of them.
“It seems as though they want as much money as someone who’s played at Liverpool week-in week-out for five or six years. He’s yet to do that – he’s a good player now, but he’s not yet a great player.”
Phil Thompson has backed Olivier Giroud to score first in a 2-2 draw between Arsenal and Liverpool on Saturday at odds of 55/1 with Sky Bet.