‘Great footballers talk on the pitch,’ Pep Guardiola tells Raheem Sterling

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City players have to “speak on the pitch” when asked about Raheem Sterling considering leaving the club.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

Sterling admitted this week he would consider leaving Manchester City and moving abroad, saying: “If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”

The 26-year-old has struggled to hold down a regular place in Guardiola’s side this calendar year, and has started just twice in this season’s Premier League.

When asked for his view on Sterling’s comments, Guardiola said: “I didn’t know [about] it, and I think the club didn’t either.

“Raheem is our player and hopefully will be an important player for us. He wants more game time – like Riyad [Mahrez] when he doesn’t play, they complain, when Joao [Cancelo] doesn’t play, [he] complains. Some players, they complain when they want to play all the time.

“But I cannot assure how many minutes every player is going to play. Always they have to speak on the grass, on the pitch. That is the best moment.

“Not just Raheem – all of them. They know they are going to play minutes. I’m not a guy who only plays 11 players and that’s all. All of them are involved.

“What I want from Raheem and everyone is to be happy – they have to be satisfied to be here, they have to be delighted to be in this club.

“If this is not the case, they are free to take the decision that is best for them – for the players, and their families. This is the most important thing.

“It’s not just Raheem but all of them want to play every game, 90 minutes but I cannot give them that. I cannot assure them. They have to prove every training session on the pitch and try to be happy there.”

City face Burnley on Saturday before a Champions League away tie at Club Brugge on Tuesday.

After City confirmed yesterday that Ferran Torres suffered a fractured foot while away on international duty with Spain, Guardiola said the forward could be out for up to three months with the metatarsal injury.

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Guardiola also said Brazil duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will miss the Premier League match after playing in a 4-1 win over Uruguay last night and admitted he is not sure whether or not they will rejoin the squad by Tuesday’s match.

Speaking at the FT Business of Sport US summit, Sterling said he would consider leaving Manchester City and moving abroad.

Raheen Sterling

“If there was an opportunity to go somewhere else, (for more game time), I would be open to it at this moment in time,” he said.

“As I said, football is the most important thing to me – challenges that I have set myself from a young age and dreams as well, to play abroad.

“As an English player all I know is the Premier League and I have always had something down (in me) that maybe one day I would love to play abroad to see how I would come up against that challenge.

“I’m not a person that’s going to complain. I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is.

“I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go – playing football matches regularly, score goals regularly.

“From being a young child, football has been the most important thing in my life, my most happiest I should say.

“If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”