by Dave Usher for ESPN
"He's usually the best player on the pitch".
That was a quote last week from Liverpool's young Spanish midfielder Suso when discussing Raheem Sterling. He's right. More often than not in 2014 Sterling has indeed been the best player on the field, even when he has shared that field with much more established and illustrious names.
Sterling's rise has not exactly been meteoric -- he was tipped for stardom from a very young age -- but he does seem to be developing much faster than expected.
Liverpool knew he'd be good, but did they know he'd be this good, this soon? It seems preposterous now, but 12 months ago you could have made a very strong argument that Sterling should have been loaned out to a Championship side after a promising start to first team life looked to have fizzled out.
A year on he's now consistently one of the Premier League's best players week in week out.
Was anyone actually surprised that he was the star turn during England's drab 1-0 victory in front of a half empty Wembley Stadium last Wednesday night? It would have been more surprising if he wasn't; he's the country's most in-form player based on the opening three games.
The progress in his game over the past nine or ten months is such that he is now outplaying his contract; a contract which initially seemed a little on the high side when he signed it in December 2012.
For 12 months Sterling's performances never justified his increased salary, but now they are exceeding it by some distance.
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