Raheem Sterling
(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It’s the 48th minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Japhet Tanganga tries to cut out a through ball from Riyad Mahrez, but clatters with his goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the process. The ball falls to Sergio Aguero who has his shot cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld, but only as far as Raheem Sterling.

At the beginning of this season, when he had five goals in three games and was being herald as on par with the Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s of the world, this shot would have been rifled into the back of the net and City would be 1-0 up. Instead he decided to center it for Ilkay Gundogan who somehow fired over.

And this is why we need to stop buying into the narrative that Sterling is a world class talent.

Since those five goals in the opening three Premier League games, Sterling has scored six goals in the following twenty two games. This baron run of form is probably one of the reasons he was overlooked to take the penalty City received in the first half for a foul on Sergio Aguero, although why Aguero himself did not stop up to take it is anyone’s guess.

To make matters worse Raheem has only one assist all season, according to the Premier League website. To put this into perspective Paul Pogba has two and he’s only played 71 minutes of football since the end of September. So not only is he not scoring he’s not creating now either.

The run of not scoring isn’t new for Sterling. Last season he had two goals in the final eight Premier League games and both of them came in a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace. The season before he had three goals in his last eight Premier League games and twice in that season went through four game scoring droughts.

Yet for some reason the stories of Sterling challenging the two greatest players of their generation for Balloon d’Or’s and accolades continue to circulate.

Pep, in his defense, has tried to squash said stories having managed Messi and witnessed Ronaldo at his devastating best, yet they continue.

Whatever you think personally of Messi and Ronaldo, or who you think is better between the two, the one agreeable factor is their consistency at the top level over the years and that is something Sterling has always struggled with.

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At 25 he still has time to work on that but if he’s to become the best player in the world it needs to start soon and continue for a decade plus, like Messi and Ronaldo have done. Until then stop saying Raheem Sterling is one of the best players in the world, when truth is he’s not even the best player at Man City.

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