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03rd Jul 2021

Raheem Sterling reflects on his ongoing battle with the tabloid press

Charlie Herbert

‘It’s something that built up over time, that I’m spoilt, I love money, I love bling.’

Raheem Sterling has discussed his relationship with the press, and why he decided to call out the tabloid coverage of young players back in December 2018.

After being racially abused in a match against Chelsea on 8 December 2018, the Man City winger posted on Instagram calling out the negative press coverage that young, black players get which “helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviour.”

Now, speaking to ITV’s Gabriel Clarke ahead of England’s quarter final clash with Ukraine on Saturday night, Sterling explained why he felt the need to speak out about his relationship with the press.

He said: “The funny thing about that is I can take it myself, whatever happens I’m okay, I’m comfortable in my own skin.

“But then, sleeping on it that night [in 2018], and going home, I was just looking at little scenarios that have happened to me in my career, and I was just like ‘nah, it’s more than that.’

“It’s something that’s been building up over time, that I’m spoilt, I love money, I love bling. Putting these perceptions in people’s brains. I just felt like that is something that can really make people dislike you.

He continues: “The next day, I thought to myself: ‘I am going to have to put something out there.’

“In this country a lot of the time people are scared of the backlash they could face – What’s right is right, what’s wrong is wrong. It shouldn’t be something to be scared of.

“You’ve got to speak up, and I think the most important thing is, for the players that follow after us, to try and make it much easier for them.”

You can see the clip from the interview below.

Sterling has unquestionably been England’s player of the tournament so far, scoring three goals in four matches for the Three Lions. He’ll be hoping to add to this tally on Saturday as England take on Ukraine for a place in the semi finals on Euro 2020.

His critics are very quiet at the moment, that’s for sure.