Sat | Sep 18, 2021

Grange hails Raheem’s ‘Sterling’ performances

Published:Saturday | July 10, 2021 | 12:09 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
England’s Raheem Sterling celebrates his side’s 2-1 win at the end of the Euro 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London on Wednesday, July 7.
England’s Raheem Sterling celebrates his side’s 2-1 win at the end of the Euro 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London on Wednesday, July 7.
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Minister of Sports, Olivia Grange, says the performance of England’s Jamaica-born football star, Raheem Sterling, at Euro 2020, has made Jamaicans, home and abroad, very proud.

Speaking with Duncan Golestani of UK-based ITV news on Thursday, Grange said the Manchester City star continues to produce performances that epitomise his surname.“Raheem is loved and respected by all Jamaicans. Jamaica is a football country and Raheem being true to his surname, ‘Sterling’, is excellent and first class as a player and we consider him our very own, a son of the soil,” Grange told Golestani.

She pointed out that, the player, who hails from the Maverley community in St Andrew, has made Jamaicans particularly proud because of his very humble beginnings and the fact that he overcame the tragic death of his father to pursue his dream as a footballer.

“The community of Maverley is a very poor community, an inner-city community. His father was killed tragically and he did not throw away his desire to succeed in sports. He used it as a motivating factor and we are proud he was able to overcome what existed for him emotionally and displayed the passion and love he has for football.”

She also highlighted the player’s social contribution and said he continues to be a motivator for the Maverley community and its young people.

“Raheem’s social conscience and work go beyond his adopted home (England). He returns to Jamaica and is a great motivator in the community. He has sponsored summer programmes for children from other communities as well. “We want to just use this medium to say to Raheem that ‘we love you and respect you. We honour you and will continue to be here for you,’ “ she concluded.

The 26-year-old, who had a dip in form for English Premier League (EPL) champions Manchester City towards the end of last season, has been the standout player for England at Euro 2020.

He netted England’s only two goals of the group stage to give them 1-0 wins over Croatia and Czechoslovakia.

In their round of 16 tie against arch-rivals Germany, he scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win.

STERLING’S INFLUENCE

Then in the quarter-final against Ukraine, his assist provided striker Harry Kane with the opening goal, as England went on to a 4-0 win.

The winger also played a vital role in the team’s semi-final victory over Denmark. As his run forced Simon Kjaer to net an own goal. And his mesmerising run resulted in the penalty, which Kane converted from the rebound after his spot kick was saved, to give England a 2-1 win.

England play Italy in tomorrow’s final and based on the player’s consistent display many pundits believe he is the obvious choice for the player of the tournament.

“All the important things that have happened so far to England have started with Raheem Sterling. This guy is in the equation, and so far should be the player of the tournament.” ESPN FC analyst and former Scotland international, Steve Nicol, commented.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com