Sterling praises psychiatrist Peters
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has revealed advice from sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has helped boost his performance this season.
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Sterling has been one of several key men in the Reds' impressive campaign, delivering displays worthy of the sort of hype that surrounded him when he made his breakthrough into the first team in 2012.
And the 19-year-old says meeting at Melwood with Peters -- who he will be able to speak to this summer in the England camp at the World Cup if he makes Roy Hodgson's squad as expected -- has played an important part in that.
"The way he [Peters] works is brilliant,'' Sterling told the latest edition of the official Liverpool FC magazine. "At first I thought it wasn't for me. On the outside you might think it's complicated, but all the messages are very straightforward.
"He understands the players and the emotional side of the game. What he says really helps you. We use a motto 'focus on the ball, focus on the team'. I had a meeting with him before the Manchester City game.
"I thought it was going to last 20-25 minutes. So I walked in, sat down and he just said: 'focus on the ball, focus on the team'. 'Is that it?' I asked him. But it was really important.''
Sterling has scored 10 goals in all competitions this season and the one he netted against City was particularly memorable, with the composure he showed to take his time before rifling past England colleague Joe Hart.
The teenager says a "barrier'' has been lifted in terms of him worrying about making mistakes. "Maybe on the outside people had the impression I've always been really confident,'' Sterling said.
"But after a good start [to last season] I started looking for easy options rather than taking a chance myself, beating a man, taking a shot on myself. I'd stopped being natural, [and doing] all the things that I'd done which got me into the first team in the first place.
"You could look at the City goal as an example. I'm not trying to sound cheeky or over confident but three or four months ago I would have squared rather than take the responsibility all for myself.
"My goal was always to play for Liverpool when I first came here and maybe for a while I thought that goal was achieved because I was one of the lucky ones to do it.
"But you realise that is not enough. There always has to be the next challenge, to achieve things and win things -- making your mark.
"From December time I realised I had to start stamping my personality, running with the ball, running into the box, making goals, scoring goals. Not playing with that barrier, not to be worried about making mistakes.''