Raheem Sterling has revealed the secret behind his slick start to Euro 2020: Meditation.
The Manchester City man has been noticeably laid-back since joining the England camp at St George’s Park and he puts it down to the power of thought.
He explains: “I’m doing a little bit of meds, I try to do it before I go to sleep…get relaxed, just taking time out, being thankful and grateful for the day, just trying to get connected.
“On the whole, not a lot of us get connected to our bodies and our brains so I am trying to get everything connected as one and be in a good place.”
Sterling was certainly in a good place at the weekend, celebrating his MBE award with the decisive goal in England’s opening win against Croatia.
But he is definitely not getting carried away with the promising start and believes England will have to improve markedly if they are to go deep into the tournament.
“I think we could have kept the ball a bit better,” Sterling explains. “I think we could have played out from the back a bit more because when you come up against the Frances and Spains, teams like that, we can’t just give them back the ball because it will be a long time before we get the ball back.
“We’ve got to do what they are going to try and do to us, they are going to try and make us run.
“We have got to do that to teams and we are more than capable of doing that.
“I thought at times we could have played a little bit more, just kept the ball, kept them running, especially when it is a hot day and we have got the right players to do that.
“It is just my thoughts. We played a good Croatia side but if we go into the last 16 you come up against these top national teams that have players who enjoy keeping the ball.”
While the performance, in his eyes, could have been better, the occasion was almost perfect as Sterling scored his first tournament goal a stone’s throw from where he was brought up.
“It is something I knew would happen to be honest with you,” he reflects. “I always had faith that I would do something with England at Wembley, score in a tournament.
“I have always dreamt of that and to actually finally say I’ve done it, that is a real dream come true.”
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And while Sterling knows England need to improve in possession, he is convinced this squad is one of the best assembled in recent times.
Asked if it was stronger than the one that made it to the semi-final of World Cup 2018, he replied: “One hundred percent, in every area.
“There are two players in every position in their own right, to start.
“And if you have someone breathing down your neck, you have got to do even better.
“At the same time, it is healthy competition. There is no malice, no bad blood, everyone has the same objective – to do well for their country. That healthy competition is good, always.”
And Sterling himself could not be in a healthier place after being recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
“Not for one moment did I think I would receive something like that and to actually receive it is a great achievement and I am so grateful.
“It was a top moment, something that not just me but my family will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
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