“Raheem Sterling is the golden boy of England these euros – Let’s have some respect on his name” – Andros Townsend

Let’s start showing some love to Raheem Sterling.

Let’s start by showing Manchester City’s best the credit they so deserve.

I remember in 2016 when some English fans started a GoFundMe page to send him home after the European Championship.

I remember when people called him greedy and disloyal for wanting to leave Liverpool to win trophies at City.

Even during this tournament, despite all the awesome things Raheem has done, I have seen and heard people say they would rather have Jack Grealish or Phil Foden by their side.

It really is time to respect Sterling’s name. The guy has scored three goals in four games.

Raheem Sterling celebrates after opening the scoring for England against Germany at Wembley
Let’s start showing some love to Raheem Sterling

It’s time to appreciate what he did to make a difference in the close games that got us so deep into the tournament.

For all the excitement and euphoria at Wembley and across the country this week, for all the optimism heading into Saturday’s quarter-final against Ukraine and for all the excitement around what represents our better chance of playing in a major tournament for quite some time, let’s not forget the big contribution of the pound.

He’s been through so much off the pitch with people judging him, tearing him apart, refusing to give him the credit he deserved and so much more.

Let’s face it, for all of the people raising the roof across the country, many didn’t even want Raheem on the squad for Game 1.

This was after scoring 16 goals for club and country in the last season.

He has set himself unbelievable standards if people don’t want him in the England squad after that.

I have to tell you that not many people are able to endure the stick he had.

I had my criticisms as a player but nothing to do with what Raheem had to face. But he showed us how strong he is mentally, how great he is.

Maybe it’s playing Wembley, pretty much in his backyard. Perhaps that was the confidence he had in scoring this winner in the opener against Croatia. Maybe it’s the belief he has in himself.

I certainly think he’s unbeatable and here’s why: For me, Gareth Southgate entered the tournament with the belief that Raheem would start the game against Croatia.

If he hadn’t scored, we might have gotten to see Grealish come in.

Was Raheem Sterling the English player of the tournament? Comments below

But because Raheem scored he had to keep his place and in every game even though he didn’t score he seemed the biggest threat.

I did a radio show in Brent in North West London where I spoke to a lot of young people who live in the area.

They couldn’t all say enough how much of an inspiration to guys like them.

Without men like Raheem, switching to professional football is just a pipe dream. He – and the way he deals with adversity – is an inspiration to all those kids who watch this European Championship and think one day it could be them.

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