Raheem Sterling's plea to England fans: "Show us some love"

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Raheem signs a shirt for a fan at St. George's Park ahead of the trip to Amsterdam last week

Expand Raheem signs a shirt for a fan at St. George's Park ahead of the trip to Amsterdam last week

Raheem Sterling says he still has plenty to prove for club and country. I lost the ball three times and I didn't think I was going to play until the end of the season after he killed me in the dressing room.

The Manchester City forward has been making noticeably better decisions around how to finish chances and has been taking up more intelligent positions on the pitch.

Sterling has become something of a last-gasp specialist at City, hitting a series of important late goals, and jokingly bemoaned Southgate's reluctance to leave him on the field for the full 90 minutes.

"Before I was more raw, every time I got the ball I wanted to take someone on", Sterling said.

"I have done that at my club, I wasn't scoring a lot of goals there as well, but I've turned that around".

The England manager is mainly focusing on adding more goals to the mix and Jamie Vardy will lead the line in the absence of Harry Kane.

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"It will be a matter of time".

Clear chances to lighten that load were hard to come by on Friday although Sterling, paired with Marcus Rashford in a fluid attacking pair, bubbled with confidence.

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When asked what his dreams for Russian Federation this summer are, he said: "To have fun. Little touches outside your foot, trapped under your foot, he's telling you to get to the left-back quicker, open your body out and take it with you instead of just controlling it and stopping".

"If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn't know how much that would boost their confidence".

"I feel sometimes there is too much negativity". I would love to hear some positive notes going in, just to make the boys know that everyone's behind them.

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Reflecting on his hard experiences in France two years ago, he said: "As young boy, I was 20-21...around that age, I didn't think I was being treated right".

He is now thriving under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola, enjoying the most productive season of his career with 20 goals in all competitions.

The Manchester City winger has seen the national stadium at its worst - booed for below-par performances in the past - and was even the subject of a bid by a number of fans to fund a private aeroplane to fly him home from the European Championships after disappointing performances in France. "With the biggest teams [Guardiola] has managed to play in a different way and give the players that belief and detail in how they play, which is so important". "It's down to the players to take that on board [what their manager says]".

"There was a lot of talk, a lot of pressure, I didn't think I was being spoken about in a fair manner".

"That's not necessarily because he's technically better". We then need to be a little bit more patient in that area of the pitch, wait for that right moment to make the pass, rather than try and force things. "Stuff like that brings the best out of me".

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