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Sterling amazed by rapid rise

19 April 2013 08:58

Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling says he is surprised by how quickly he has established himself at the Anfield Club.

Sterling arrived at Liverpool as a 15-year-old in 2010, and made his senior debut late last season against Wigan.

His progress has continued this season, and he made his first Premier League start against Manchester City last August.

He has gone on to make 19 starts for Brendan Rodgers' side in the league this term and, although his output has been checked in recent weeks by a thigh strain, Sterling said he is amazed by how well he has coped with senior football.

"At the start of the season the manager said to all the young players that if we did well in training and had the right commitment and attitude, he wouldn't be afraid to throw us in, no matter what our age," Sterling told Goal.com.

"But I didn't expect to play so many games. I thought I'd make a few sub appearances. It's great to be given a chance, and I've got to thank the manager - I'm really grateful."

Sterling said his first full game in the Premier League, where he used his pace and trickery to torment Pablo Zabaleta in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Manchester City - is still the fondest memory of his young career.

"It was probably my best performance," he said. "Purely because it was my first game, with so much pressure and against last season's champions. I was proud of myself afterwards.

"Before the game, (Steven) Gerrard told me it was just an older version of the under-18s. He said not to worry about it and just to go out there and give my best, so that's what I did."

In November, Roy Hodgson handed him an England cap, and Sterling said he was thrilled to become his country's fifth-youngest debutant in their 4-2 loss to Sweden in Stockholm.

"It was surprising, really," he said. "I didn't expect to start, and to be involved in a game like that was a real bonus for me, a real achievement.

"I didn't really know anyone, but it was a really good atmosphere. Everyone did their bit to make me feel welcome."

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