Former England defender Sol Campbell believes Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling must be offered more protection by the Professional Footballers’ Association in order to ensure he reaches his full potential.
Sterling – whose contract expires at the end of next season – angered many Reds fans when he chose to openly discuss his contract situation at Anfield amid interest from Arsenal, and admitted that he had rejected an offer worth £100,000-per-week.
Further negative headlines were prompted when images that appeared to show Sterling inhaling laughing gas emerged, but Campbell feels more protection should be granted to the 20-year-old blossoming under the media spotlight.
“He’s one of the most talented English players coming out of this country. Do not destroy him,” Campbell told the Guardian.
“Wayne Rooney did a lot of stuff, he got some flak, but it was almost overlooked. ‘Oh, you’ve been a bad boy, let’s overlook it again.’
“Raheem Sterling is one of the most talented men coming out of this country. Wake up, PFA. Press wake up and protect this boy.
“Yes, he’s young. Yes, things will happen, and pay him the money because he’s worth it.”
Sterling has scored 11 goals in all competitions so far this season, and has earned 14 caps for England.