Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he cannot guarantee Raheem Sterling more game time, following the 26-year-old’s comments this week that he is considering leaving the Etihad.
Guardiola claims football is a squad game these days and he feels every player should be accepting of the fact that they won’t play every match:
“Raheem is our player and will hopefully be an incredibly important player for us. Some players want to play all the time but I can’t assure them of that. They have the opportunity because they know they’re going to play minutes, I don’t only play 11 players and that’s all. All of them are involved.”
Guardiola’s remarks are unlikely to please Sterling, whose future looks increasingly likely to be away from City, with negotiations over a new contract having also stalled.
A move in the January transfer window cannot be ruled out, although there are question marks over who could actually afford the England international.
Both Barcelona and Arsenal have been linked but neither club are likely to have the funds necessary to meet City’s price. Guardiola seems happy to keep Sterling but the player is clearly unsettled.
The winger could yet win his place back as a regular starter, though, if he puts his head down and rediscovers the form that made him such a potent weapon just a couple of years ago.