Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CITy SpECIAL CITY SPECIAL TRUTH BEHIND RISE OF CITY'S Pounds 49M STARLET ; after a Difficult Start in a Notorious Jamaican District and Spell at a Special School, Sterling Has Become the Future for EnglandCITy SpECIAL CITY SPECIAL

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CITy SpECIAL CITY SPECIAL TRUTH BEHIND RISE OF CITY'S Pounds 49M STARLET ; after a Difficult Start in a Notorious Jamaican District and Spell at a Special School, Sterling Has Become the Future for EnglandCITy SpECIAL CITY SPECIAL

Article excerpt

FOR a man of just 20 years, Raheem Sterling has crammed a lot into his life.

Sixteen England caps, Liverpool's young player of the year award twice, front-page controversy and a family tragedy have all made their mark on the new City signing.

And now, if his medical goes well and the formalities of his personal contract are sorted, he will become the most expensive under-21 player in football history.

Sterling is undoubtedly a talent, but plenty of City fans are concerned about some of the baggage that comes with him. So who is the man behind the facade of the footballer? Sterling was born in the notorious Maverley district of Kingston, Jamaica - an area more noted for its gun crime and poverty than its football.

His mother took him and sister Lakima away from that hell-hole when he was six, emigrating to London, where the family settled on the St Raphael's estate, close to Wembley stadium.

The wisdom of that was underlined when Sterling's absent father was shot dead in Jamaica - when the boy was nine.

But north west London was no paradise, and Sterling was soon attending a special school, due to behaviour problems in mainstream school.

Football was his saving grace. One teacher told him, at the age of 10: "If you carry on the way you're going, by the time you're 17 you'll either be playing for England or you'll be in prison."

The lure of gang culture loomed large in his life, but Sterling was too busy playing football.

His childhood was played out in the rising shadow of the new Wembley, and it soon became clear Sterling had a better than average chance of playing there one day.

His teacher Chris Beschi felt that Sterling's label as a naughty, educationally sub-normal kid, was just wrong.

"Raheem is amazingly intelligent in so many ways," he said.

"At Vernon House he would have been statemented as having special educational needs. …

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