Sterling has chance to face Hammers
Raheem Sterling could yet be a surprise squad inclusion when Manchester City get back to playing matters on Wednesday night against West Ham at the Etihad.
The England winger suffered a minor hamstring strain a fortnight ago in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, with concerns Pep Guardiola could be without one of his key players for up to a month.
Sterling, however, has been back in training since the Citizens’ squad returned from an extended mid-season break, owing to the original fixture against the Irons being postponed due to bad weather.
The 24-year-old is said to be feeling better and a decision is being left late, although the City man would surely have to settle for a place on the substitutes bench for the visit of David Moyes’ relegation battlers.
Guardiola would certainly like Sterling to get some minutes into his legs before next week’s huge Champions League first-leg clash at Real Madrid in the round of 16.
The former Liverpool star did appear to be in need of a rest prior to his injury, having failed to find the back of the net since scoring a brace in City’s 3-2 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers in late December.
Sterling has not actually scored at the Etihad since a 3-0 home victory over Aston Villa on October 28, despite boasting 24 goals in all competitions this season.
Reports in Spain have suggested bosses at the Bernabeu are ready to try their luck on signing the player this summer, with City currently appealing to CAS over UEFA’s decision to ban them from Champions League competition for two seasons over alleged Financial Fair Play infringements.
Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, was quick to come out and insist the forward remains committed to the Manchester giants, with a new contract currently in the early stages of discussion.
City value Sterling at £200m and it will be a situation to keep an eye on, certainly if the reigning Premier League champions fail to have UEFA’s punishment overturned and cannot count on Champions League money for a couple of years.