Raheem Sterling joined Chelsea because he ‘couldn’t afford to waste time’ at Man City

“Yeah, I think that conversation opened the door for me personally, in the sense where it made me understand what my true purpose is other than football. Of course, football is my main goal and talent but the other thing that gives me the most joy … that’s helping people. So from that incident, I’ve moved away from the racial side of it and focussed more on helping and nurturing young black people.”

Asked about the suggestion made by Stan Collymore that Sterling could even meet with and educate the banned Chelsea fan concerned, the player said he was not against the idea. “I have no hatred or malice towards the individual. That’s something that I could do right here, right now, or tomorrow. That’s not an issue.

“I think my main focus is to move away from the racial kind of thing and focus more on nurturing and feeding the youth, like myself growing up, and giving them a map to the world that lies ahead. [To] show them that they can manifest a lot of stuff if they just put the time in and look after themselves.”

Sterling said that Thomas Tuchel had praised his “directness” and his willingness to run in behind defences. “Most importantly it’s how I attack the box, and with the full-backs that we have here he said that’s the one thing he wants to see a lot more.” He said that while both Tuchel and Guardiola put the emphasis on possession the playing styles they sought to impose were “completely different”.

“It’s two different systems, two different playing styles. We do a lot of possession here, City do a lot of possession … they both want different things. I’m adjusting really well here. It’s the honeymoon period now, but it’s like when you’re really optimistic about something and dream for something – that’s where I am.”

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