Rapid rise a shock for Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling

Liam Twomey
Rapid rise a shock for Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling

He may only have played eight times in 2013, his lightning progress hampered by a lingering thigh injury, but it would still be a huge surprise if Raheem Sterling is not among the names revealed to be on the PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist by chief executive Gordon Taylor on Friday.

Even for those not of a Liverpool persuasion, Sterling’s full Premier League debut, against holder Manchester City at Anfield in August, was thrilling. At just 17 years, eight months and eight days, the fearless youngster tormented the usually excellent Pablo Zabaleta with dizzying pace, trickery and awareness, playing the entire 95 minutes.

Such an accomplished display against top opposition provided a fitting introduction for many to a special talent, and Sterling remembers it fondly.

“It was probably my best performance,” he told Goal.com. “Purely because it was my first game, with so much pressure and against last season’s champions. I was proud of myself afterward.